QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus was comparable to other interferon gamma release assays for predicting tuberculosis (TB) in adults with recent contacts, according to study results published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Whole blood samples from adults who recently had contact exposure to people with tuberculosis were screened using QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus. Participants were linked to national TB surveillance records to identify people who were later diagnosed with TB. Positive and negative predictive values were then calculated to determine the predictive power of the test.

Of the 623 people recruited, 532 had QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus results available and were to be included in the analysis. These results were positive in 180 of 532 (33.8%) tests and 39 people (21.7%) who tested positive started preventive therapy and were excluded from analysis. The positive and negative predictive values were 5.7% and 99.4%, respectively.

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“[I]n this first evaluation of the predictive value of QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus for incident tuberculosis, performance was comparable to other commercial [interferon gamma release assays],” the researchers wrote. “Better biomarkers are required to transform management of TB contacts.”


Gupta RK, Kunst H, Lipman M, et al. Evaluation of QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus for predicting incident tuberculosis among recent contacts: a prospective cohort study [published online February 21, 2020]. Ann Am Thorac Soc. doi:10.1513/AnnalsATS.201905-407RL