The work of TriageTB consortium members Dr Paul Corstjens and Professor Annemieke Geluk was featured in an article in the local Dutch newspaper Leidsch Dagblad on 4 December 2019.
The article describes the technology developed at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in collaboration with its international project partners, which allows for a low complexity, point-of-care triage test for active Tuberculosis (TB): “A patient’s fingerprick blood is inserted into an assay buffer, before applying it to a test strip. The strip is then inserted into a plastic cassette where it is tested for several different biomarkers. After a short period of time, a reader can read out the cassette revealing the patient’s test result”, Dr Corstjens explains.
In the TriageTB project, the biomarker signature used on the strips will be refined for global application and the refined test will then be evaluated in a large prospective study on fresh fingerstick blood.
In the newspaper article, Prof. Geluk describes the value of such a test: The proposed procedure with low complexity can be performed at the point-of-care in a laboratory-free manner by minimally trained healthcare workers. This will identify those patients with the highest risk for active TB and rule out those who do not suffer from the disease. A positive test result would focus health worker attention on the actual patients and support the diagnostic work-up process, which includes visits to specialized hospitals for more comprehensive tests, allowing a definitive diagnosis and quick initiation of treatment. An added benefit is a significant reduction of healthcare costs.