Use of a T Cell-Based Assay for Monitoring Efficacy of Antituberculosis Therapy

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Monitoring the efficacy of antituberculosis therapy is crucial both for the individual patient and for better control of the spread of tuberculosis. We studied 18 patients with microbiologically confirmed tuberculosis, both at the time of diagnosis and 3 months after they started therapy, using an in vitro assay that detects T cell-mediated interferon-γ response to selected peptides of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific early secretory antigenic target 6 (ESAT-6) protein. All patients had positive results at diagnosis; however, 3 months later, the response to ESAT-6 peptides was still detectable only in the 5 patients with microbiological isolation and/or absence of clinical improvement after treatment. On the basis of these data, we conclude that our assay is a useful tool in monitoring the efficacy of antituberculosis therapy.

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