WHO issued a policy recommendation warning against the use of inaccurate blood tests for active tuberculosis, noting that “the use of currently available, commercial blood (serological) tests to diagnose active tuberculosis (TB) often leads to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and potential harm to public health.” WHO is urging countries “to ban the inaccurate and unapproved blood tests and instead rely on accurate microbiological or molecular tests, as recommended by WHO.” Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Stop TB Department, said, “In the best interests of patients and caregivers in the private and public health sectors, WHO is calling for an end to the use of these serological tests to diagnose tuberculosis. A blood test for diagnosing active TB disease is bad practice. Test results are inconsistent, imprecise and put patients’ lives in danger.”
Today’s policy recommendation applies to blood tests for active TB. Blood tests for inactive TB infection (also known as dormant or latent TB) are currently under review by WHO.