Breath represents an attractive target for the diagnosis of pulmonary TB cases, as breath samples may contain TB bacteria or MTB-specific biomarkers and can be collected through non-invasive procedures. An additional advantage of these technologies includes the ability to diagnose pulmonary TB in HIV-infected adults and children at any level of the health system, as conventional sputum-based diagnostics show lower performance among these patient populations. The ideal breath-testing diagnostics would also differentiate patients confirmed to have active TB from those with other respiratory pathologies.
Numerous technologies with different mechanisms of TB detection in breath samples are now gaining in number (see links/attachments for a few examples). We look forward to seeing the results of early feasibility studies and independent evaluations of these technologies and to discussions surrounding the operational and performance characteristics of these assays, for TB as well as other diseases. We hope this forum will help to learn of new technologies in this field and to review and discuss recent results.