Tuberculosis Study

TB photoEvaluating the accuracy of a low cost diagnostic test for susceptible and drug resistant TB in rural Malawi
(Principal Investigators: Drs. Jesse Kwiek and Jordi Torrelles)

Background:
Tuberculosis (TB) significantly impacts global health, causing 3 million deaths per year. According to WHO estimates, in 2012 TB incidence in Malawi was fifty-times higher than compared to the U.S. While acid fast bacilli (AFB) smear is the most common TB diagnostic method in Malawi, it is labor intensive, has less-than-ideal sensitivity, and cannot assess TB drug susceptibility. TB color plates, which simultaneously diagnose TB and TB drug-susceptibility, are a low cost, simple, highly sensitive alternative TB diagnostic. TB color plates have been tested extensively in research laboratories, but its performance in real-world settings is not well characterized.

Purpose:
In collaboration with Child Legacy International (CLI), we will determine the accuracy of the TB color plates, compared to AFB or GeneXpert, to detect pulmonary TB infection. As secondary objective, we will generate maps indicating the location of active TB within the CLI clinic catchment area. We expect that this project will enhance CLI’s TB diagnostic capabilities, increase access of the CLI catchment area to TB diagnostics, and provide critical TB data to the Malawi Ministry of Health.