Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 6 September 2023 – QIAGEN yesterday (5 Sept) announced the donation of 3,000 QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Plus tests to the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia as a diagnostic tool for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) screening.
This screening is focused on assisting the check-ups of immunocompromised patients, a key risk group for tuberculosis (TB) disease, as part of QIAGEN’s commitment to making a positive impact on underserved communities in eradicating tuberculosis.
QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus is the leading interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) blood test, with millions of tests performed annually. International guidance from the WHO support the use of blood tests like QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus in all settings as part of the fight to end the global TB epidemic.
This donation is intended to rally support for the Malaysian healthcare system and facilitate a wider adoption of IGRA tests in Malaysia for immunocompromised groups, including people with diabetes and other diseases.
The publication of a new, systematic review shows the unique value of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus test technology lies in the potential benefit of CD8 T-cell responses in the TB2 blood collection tube, which has gone on to provide a broader immune assessment of TB infection.
“QIAGEN has always been unwavering in our commitment to public health initiatives and, as a leader in this TB diagnostics space, we are honored to collaborate with the Ministry of Health in this joint fight against TB infection,” said Dr Alvin Lee Teck Chien, Head of Molecular Diagnostics, APEC QIAGEN, at the donation ceremony.
“Through the tests, we hope to help improve TB detection rates, reduce the burden of TB treatment on the healthcare system, and ultimately save more lives with better patient outcomes as our end goal.”
Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General (Public Health) Datuk Dr. Norhayati Rusli welcomed the contribution of the 3,000 QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus tests received and acknowledged the role played by the private sector in offering any form of support to the government in mitigating many existing and new diseases.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I wish to extend our gratitude and appreciation to QIAGEN for this sponsorship of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus that will go a long way to enabling a wider scale of tests and detection of LTBI among high-risk population groups,” said Dr. Norhayati.
“We look forward to more partnerships with esteemed organizations like QIAGEN to continuously bring about positive impact in fulfilling the unmet needs of pressing healthcare concerns and patients.”
TB is regarded as a prevalent and serious public health concern in Malaysia with an estimated 25,000 new cases reported each year.
It is also the second fatal cause of death among communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases.
Malaysia has successfully increased the case detection rate of TB by enhancing the screening programme, however, the number of cases that had been detected was still below the WHO target incidence of 97 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Combating and keeping the disease under control requires testing as the first step towards early detection, as well as treatment for those who have contracted LTBI in order to break the cycle of transmission and infection of TB.
Globally, QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus has helped patients and providers reduce the number of doctor’s visits to a single blood draw with a faster turnaround time.
It has established itself as a superior alternative to the dated TB skin test (TST), which is less effective in identifying TB infection in people who have received BCG vaccination, which is common for patients from high-TB-burden countries, and in patients who may be unlikely to return for TST interpretation.