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WHO Urges Immediate Halt To Blood Tests For Tuberculosis

Nurses at a TB dispensary in the city of Sumgait in Azerbaijan
The World Health Organization has called for an immediate halt to the use of blood tests for detecting active tuberculosis, saying the tests are faulty and leave the lives of millions of people at risk.

The UN health agency says production of the test kits is largely in the hands of Western companies that export them to developing countries because they do not pass regulatory standards in developed nations.

The agency's tuberculosis prevention chief, Mario Raviglione, says year-long studies have produced "overwhelming evidence" that the blood tests produce "an unacceptable level of wrong results" and therefore "put patients' lives in danger."

Tuberculosis is a infectious bacterial disease which most commonly affect the lungs. It can be deadly if untreated, but can be treated with a six-month course of antibiotics.

compiled from agency reports