Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 


New test for tuberculosis could improve treatment, prevent deaths in Southern Africa

A new rapid test for tuberculosis (TB) could substantially and cost-effectively reduce TB deaths and improve treatment in southern Africa—a region where both HIV and tuberculosis are common—according to a new study by Harvard School of Public researchers.

"This test is one of the most significant developments in TB control options in many years," said lead author Nicolas Menzies, a PhD candidate in health policy at Harvard School of Public Health. "Our study is the first to look at the long-term consequences of this test when incorporated into routine health programs." The study appeared online November 20, 2012 in PLOS Medicine.

The study will be available after the embargo lifts here:

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that kills more than 1.5 million people annually—primarily in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated 9 million people developed the disease in 2010. HIV-infected patients are particularly vulnerable to TB, which is spread through airborne droplets when people with active disease cough or sneeze.

Rapid and accurate diagnosis is key to preventing the spread of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended the use of Xpert, an automated DNA test that can show a result within two hours, for people at high risk of multi-drug resistant TB and/or HIV-associated TB. Many countries are already moving to adopt the test.

Menzies, senior author Joshua Salomon, professor of global health at HSPH, and colleagues conducted a modeling study to investigate the potential health and economic consequences of implementing the Xpert test in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. They found that replacing the current diagnostic approach (which relies on identifying TB in patient's sputum using a microscope) with one based on the Xpert test would prevent an estimated 132,000 TB cases and 182,000 TB deaths in southern Africa over 10 years, reducing by 28% the proportion of the population with active TB.

The researchers estimated that the cost of widespread implementation of the Xpert test in southern Africa would be US$460 million over the next 10 years, with the majority of these additional costs arising from increased utilization of TB and HIV treatment services. In particular, as the new test provides information on TB drug resistance, many more patients would be referred for treatment of multi-drug resistant TB, which is expensive in this setting. The additional HIV treatment costs are a result of the success of the intervention—as individuals coinfected with TB and HIV receive better TB care, their survival improves, increasing the total number of people receiving HIV treatment.

Taking into account both the additional costs and health benefits from use of the new technology, adoption of the Xpert test in southern Africa would be a good value for the money, according to WHO standards. The researchers found that the cost per year of healthy life gained from adopting the new test ranged from US$792 in Swaziland to US$1,257 in Botswana. While these results suggest that scaling up Xpert can be a good health investment, the cost per healthy year gained is substantially higher in this study than in previous reports, and the economic results raise questions about affordability that will be critical for policy makers to consider.

Menzies also cautioned that the study's findings may not be applicable elsewhere, and that other countries may find more cost-effective interventions than Xpert to adopt first. "Given the fundamental influence of HIV on TB dynamics and intervention costs, care should be taken when interpreting the results of this analysis outside of settings with high HIV prevalence," he said.

Support for the study was provided in part by UNITAID and a training grant from the Massachusetts General Hospital's Program in Cancer Outcomes and Training (NIH Grant No. R25 CA092203).

"Population Health Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Tuberculosis Diagnosis with Xpert MTB/RIF: A Dynamic Simulation and Economic Evaluation," Menzies NA, Cohen T, Lin H-H, Murray M, Salomon JA (2012) PLoS Med 9(11): e1001347. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001347

Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit

HSPH on Twitter:
HSPH on Facebook:
HSPH on You Tube:
HSPH home page:

Todd Datz | EurekAlert!
Further information:

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Weltraumbeobachtung mit Radar zur Sicherheit der Weltrauminfrastruktur für Deutschland

Immer mehr Weltraummüll gefährdet die Satelliten im erdnahen Orbit. Ihre Aufgaben in den Bereichen Telekommunikation, Navigation oder Wettervorhersage sind jedoch essentiell für unsere Gesellschaft. Das Fraunhofer FHR entwickelt deshalb radarbasierte Systeme, mit denen auch kleinste Trümmerteile detektiert, nachverfolgt und katalogisiert werden können. Mit hochpräzisen Bahndaten möglichst vieler dieser Objekte können Satellitenbetreiber Ausweichmanöver besser planen und zerstörerische Kollisionen vermeiden. Das Fraunhofer FHR stellt zusammen mit seinen Partnern vom 25.-29.4.2018 Messe ILA Berlin die komplementären Radarsysteme TIRA und GESTRA zur Weltraumbeobachtung vor.

Die »Verkehrssituation« im All ist angespannt: Neben unzähligen Satelliten umkreisen Weltraumtrümmer wie zum Beispiel ausgebrannte Raketenstufen und...

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Forscher entdecken neues Anti-Krebs-Protein

Ein internationales Forscherteam hat ein neues Anti-Krebs-Protein entdeckt. Das Protein namens LHPP verhindert, dass sich Krebszellen in der Leber ungebremst vermehren. Zudem eignet es sich als Biomarker für die Diagnose und Prognose von Leberzellkrebs. Dies berichten Forscher unter der Leitung von Prof. Michael N. Hall vom Biozentrum der Universität Basel in «Nature».

Die Häufigkeit von Leberkrebs, auch bekannt als Leberzellkarzinom, nimmt stetig zu. In der Schweiz hat sich die Zahl der Erkrankungen in den letzten zwanzig...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: LifeTime – ein visionärer Vorschlag für ein EU-Flagschiff

Zuverlässig vorherzusagen, wann eine Krankheit ausbricht oder wie sie verläuft, erscheint wie ein Traum. Ein europäisches Konsortium will ihn Wirklichkeit werden lassen und dabei vor allem neue Technologien der Einzelzellbiologie nutzen. Führende Forscherinnen und Forscher haben daher einen Antrag für ein FET-Flagschiff mit dem Namen LifeTime eingereicht.

Nachdem das Humangenomprojekt 2001 abgeschlossen war, haben Wissenschaft und Medien das Genom als „Buch des Lebens“ bezeichnet. Darin könne man nachlesen, wie...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>



Industrie & Wirtschaft

Internationales Meeting zu Neuroakanthozytose-Syndromen

23.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Hightech-Implantate sind Thema beim 12. COMPAMED Frühjahrsforum

23.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Hybrid-elektrisch angetriebene Verkehrsflugzeuge – Zukunft oder Fiktion?

20.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Gashydratforschung: Erweitertes Grundwissen und neue Technologien

23.03.2018 | Geowissenschaften

Japanischer Teilchenbeschleuniger SuperKEKB startet durch

23.03.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Medikament oder Plagiat?

23.03.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics