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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of Immunodiagnosis of Tuberculosis: New Questions, New Tools

Open Access Introduction

Immunodiagnosis of tuberculosis: new questions, new tools conference 2008

Maria L Gennaro1* and T Mark Doherty2

Author affiliations

1 Public Health Research Institute, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA

2 Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Citation and License

BMC Proceedings 2010, 4(Suppl 3):I1  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-4-S3-I1

Published: 17 December 2010

Abstract

Human infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis exists as a spectrum of conditions ranging from asymptomatic infection to active disease. Novel, accurate tuberculosis immunodiagnostics have been introduced over the last decade, but it remains challenging to timely diagnose active disease and to accurately distinguish asymptomatic M. tuberculosis infection from immune memory resulting from a prior infection eradicated by the host response. The conference titled Immunodiagnosis of Tuberculosis: New Questions, New Tools, which was held on September 21-23, 2008 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States, brought together basic scientists and clinical experts to discuss recent progress in tuberculosis research and diagnosis. Global analyses of M. tuberculosis biology and the host immune response, with emphasis on systems approaches to the study of host-pathogen interactions, were presented. Moreover, conference participants discussed new tests in the pipeline and reviewed new technologies leading to novel assay formats. The discussion included technologies ranging from simple, inexpensive point-of-care tests to automated molecular platforms for detection of multiple infections based on the “lab on a chip” concept. It was also recognized that the utility of any new diagnostic relies on laboratory capacity, accessibility, costs, and test deployment. The conference included lessons from the field. For example, the application of existing technologies to neglected areas, such as diagnosis in children and HIV+ populations, was discussed.