In this cost effective analysis, researchers compared traditional skin testing for latent TB to newer interferon-gamma release assays (FDA approved recently). These assays work by incubating a blood sample with tuberculous antigen, and measuring the release of interferon (only tuberculous sensitized individuals will release interferon). They found these assays to be more cost-effective for screening, given they can be given to all individuals (even BCG-vaccinated), only require 1 visit, and do not require any interpretation. These tests will likely supplant skin testing in the near future (abstract).
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.