WHO Denounces TB Blood Tests In First-Ever ‘Negative’ Policy Recommendation

The WHO “called on Wednesday for an immediate halt to the use of blood tests to detect active tuberculosis [TB], saying they were faulty and leave millions of people at risk,” Reuters reports.

The agency had never recommended the tests, which are manufactured in Europe and North America and “are often targeted at countries with weak regulatory mechanisms for diagnostics, where questionable marketing incentives can override the interests of patients,” WHO TB specialist Karin Weyer said during a press conference to announce the policy recommendation, according to Reuters (Evans, 7/20).

The move represents the first time the WHO has issued an “explicit ‘negative’ policy recommendation against a practice that is widely used in tuberculosis care. It underscores the Organization’s determination to translate strong evidence into clear policy advice to governments,” according to a WHO press release (7/20).