Can novel digital PCR methods improve tuberculosis patient care?
Collaborating within the European Infect-Met consortium, the JRC has validated novel digital PCR detection methods for the bacterium causing Tuberculosis. These methods allow for the evaluation of the performance and control of the quality of quantitative DNA-based methods. Therefore, they have the potential to improve Tuberculosis treatment.
The therapeutic monitoring of Tuberculosis patients requires quantitative methods currently performed using smear microscopy, which has its practical limitations. The potential use of quantitative molecular measurements for therapeutic monitoring has been investigated, but the findings have been variable and inconclusive. The lack of an adequate reference method and reference materials poses a barrier to understanding the source of such disagreements. Digital PCR was found to perform well with a good agreement with the other real-time PCR methods tested, and to be highly reproducible between laboratories even when using different instruments.