Publication date: Nov 30, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic brought diagnostics into the spotlight in an unprecedented way not only for case management but also for population health, surveillance, and monitoring. The industry saw notable levels of investment and accelerated research which sparked a wave of innovation. Simple non-invasive sampling methods such as nasal swabs have become widely used in settings ranging from tertiary hospitals to the community. Self-testing has also been adopted as standard practice using not only conventional lateral flow tests but novel and affordable point-of-care molecular diagnostics. The use of new technologies, including artificial intelligence-based diagnostics, have rapidly expanded in the clinical setting. The capacity for next-generation sequencing and acceptance of digital health has significantly increased. However, 4 years after the pandemic started, the market for SARS-CoV-2 tests is saturated, and developers may benefit from leveraging their innovations for other diseases; tuberculosis (TB) is a worthwhile portfolio expansion for diagnostics developers given the extremely high disease burden, supportive environment from not-for-profit initiatives and governments, and the urgent need to overcome the long-standing dearth of innovation in the TB diagnostics field. In exchange, the current challenges in TB detection may be resolved by adopting enhanced swab-based molecular methods, instrument-based, higher sensitivity antigen detection technologies, and/or artificial intelligence-based digital health technologies developed for COVID-19. The aim of this article is to review how such innovative approaches for COVID-19 diagnosis can be applied to TB to have a comparable impact.
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