Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is the second leading cause of death from an infectious disease and predominantly spread through an airborne route. It continues to be a significant global health issue causing about 10.4 million new cases of TB worldwide per year.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The past decade has shown great advancements in the TB diagnostics pipeline. To be considered, a new diagnostic test must be competitive in terms of speed, cost, ease of use, patient safety and accuracy. One diagnostic method, called PCR, was first introduced in the 1990’s and revolutionised the diagnosis of many diseases. Vast developments have since been made to PCR technologies and a technique called real-time PCR (qPCR) created. This can be used to determine whether MTB DNA is present in a sample and detects amplified DNA in real time as the reaction progresses.

This review looks into the effectiveness of qPCR for the detection of TB compared to other, traditional methods. RT-PCR-based methods have been shown to detect MTB with higher sensitivity and specificity directly from positive cultures or clinical specimens within 2 h.

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