Profiles of Volatile Biomarkers Detect Tuberculosis from Skin

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that threatens >10 million people annually. Despite advances in TB diagnostics, patients continue to receive an insufficient diagnosis as TB symptoms are not specific. Many existing biodiagnostic tests are slow, have low clinical performance, and can be unsuitable for resource-limited settings. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a rapid, sputum-free, and cost-effective triage test for real-time detection of TB is urgently needed. This article reports on a new diagnostic pathway enabling a noninvasive, fast, and highly accurate way of detecting TB. The approach relies on TB-specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are detected and quantified from the skin headspace. A specifically designed nanomaterial-based sensors array translates these findings into a point-of-care diagnosis by discriminating between active pulmonary TB patients and controls with sensitivity above 90%. This fulfills the WHO’s triage test requirements and poses the potential to become a TB triage test.

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