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A rapid and accurate, yet inexpensive test to diagnose active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) would increase detection of cases, and might diagnose patients at an earlier stage of disease reducing morbidity and mortality, as well as transmission. Currently the most widely used rapid test is acid fast bacilli (AFB) smear microscopy. AFB smears are inexpensive, and can provide results within hours. However, they are insensitive, detecting approximately half of all pulmonary TB cases, albeit those who are sicker and more contagious with more advanced disease. TB cultures are considered the gold standard for diagnosis but are more expensive and complex, and only provide results after weeks to …
Competing interests None.