The QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) test is an updated version of the original QuantiFERON-TB Gold test, used for diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) infection. Like the original test, QFT-Plus is a blood test that measures the immune response to specific proteins derived from the TB-causing bacteria. Here are some reasons why the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus test is considered important:
- Accuracy and Specificity: The QFT-Plus test is designed to be more specific and accurate than the traditional tuberculin skin test (TST). It helps reduce false-positive results caused by previous Bacillus Calmette-Gu??rin (BCG) vaccination or exposure to non-TB mycobacteria, which can sometimes lead to misinterpretations of TST results.
- Single Visit Convenience: Unlike the TST, which requires two visits (one for the test placement and another for the test reading), the QFT-Plus test is a one-visit test. Blood is drawn once, making it more convenient for patients and healthcare providers.
- Objective Results: The QFT-Plus test provides quantitative results based on the amount of interferon-gamma (IFN-??) released by immune cells in response to TB proteins. This quantitative measurement can offer a clearer interpretation of the immune response compared to the subjective reading of skin test results.
- Patient Compliance: Some individuals may prefer blood tests over skin tests, as they avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of having a skin test placed and later read. This can improve patient compliance and participation in TB screening programs.
- Reduced Need for Follow-Up: False-positive TST results often require additional tests and evaluations to rule out active TB disease. The QFT-Plus test's improved specificity may reduce the need for unnecessary follow-up procedures, saving time and resources.
- Use in High-Risk Groups: The QFT-Plus test is particularly valuable for testing individuals in high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of TB, and individuals with compromised immune systems.