Division of Infectious Diseases

Rapid Blood Test for TB Shows Promise

Jacqueline Achkar Infectious Diseases Department of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY

The key goals of tuberculosis (TB) control--preventing and reducing transmission--both require prompt diagnosis and initiation of treatment. But existing diagnostic tests can be time-consuming and require sputum samples (not always available) for detecting TB bacteria that might be present. Biomarkers for active TB are urgently needed to improve rapid TB diagnosis.

Jacqueline Achkar Infectious Diseases Department of Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Jacqueline M. Achkar, MD, MS

In a new study, Dr. Jacqueline Achkar demonstrated that a panel of eight protein biomarkers in the blood can rapidly distinguish active TB from latent TB infection and also from other respiratory diseases. A second panel of 10 biomarkers diagnosed TB in people co-infected with HIV. The study, recently published in the online issue of EBioMedicine, was conducted on New York City residents from broad racial and demographic backgrounds. The diagnostic panels now need to be validated in larger studies in geographic regions where TB is common.

In addition, artwork provided by Dr. Achkar was selected for the publication’s cover. She was assisted by Tatyana Harris, in graphic arts, in the creation of the image. Dr. Achkar is Associate Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology & Immunology.

Excerpted from Inside Einstein: Research Round-Up. Published November 8, 2015 

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