18th December 2009 – Oxford Immunotec, Ltd., the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of T Cell based diagnostic tests announced today that T-SPOT.TB has become the first Interferon Gamma Release Assay (or ‘IGRA’) to be approved for sale by the Department of Health in Taiwan.
Nearly 15 000 new cases of TB are reported annually in Taiwan, exceeding the sum of all other reported communicable diseases for the country. The launch of T-SPOT.TB is a major advance in the flight against TB in Taiwan allowing rapid and reliable testing of individuals from a simple blood sample. The test will be an essential tool for screening healthcare workers, testing of people who have been in contact with active disease patients, testing prior to use of immunosuppressive drugs and in the management of HIV patients.
Professor Hsueh, a key opinion leader working in the field of TB research at The National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, commented: “In 2005 the CDC in Taiwan announced a plan to half the number of cases of TB within 10 years. We now have a disease incidence of over 60 cases per 100,000 population and there is an urgent need for better diagnostic tools to help achieve these goals. The launch of T-SPOT.TB in Taiwan is a significant development for us and will greatly improve the way we manage TB in the country. The test can be performed in a standard hospital laboratory and the rapid availability of results is extremely helpful, for example in contact tracing scenarios. The fact that the test is unaffected by BCG vaccine will also significantly reduce the numbers of false positive results we see with skin testing, which will result in cost savings by avoiding unnecessary antibiotic therapy.”