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Evaluation of multi-antigen serological screening for active tuberculosis among people living with HIV.

  • Author(s): Jaganath, Devan;
  • Rajan, Jayant;
  • Yoon, Christina;
  • Ravindran, Resmi;
  • Andama, Alfred;
  • Asege, Lucy;
  • Mwebe, Sandra Z;
  • Katende, Jane;
  • Nakaye, Martha;
  • Semitala, Fred C;
  • Khan, Imran H;
  • Cattamanchi, Adithya
  • et al.

Better triage tests for screening tuberculosis (TB) disease are needed for people living with HIV (PLHIV). We performed the first evaluation of a previously-validated 8-antigen serological panel to screen PLHIV for pulmonary TB in Kampala, Uganda. We selected a random 1:1 sample with and without TB (defined by sputum culture) from a cohort of PLHIV initiating antiretroviral therapy. We used a multiplex microbead immunoassay and an ensemble machine learning classifier to determine the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for Ag85A, Ag85B, Ag85C, Rv0934-P38, Rv3881, Rv3841-BfrB, Rv3873, and Rv2878c. We then assessed the performance with the addition of four TB-specific antigens ESAT-6, CFP-10, Rv1980-MPT64, and Rv2031-HSPX, and every antigen combination. Of 262 participants (median CD4 cell-count 152 cells/μL [IQR 65-279]), 138 (53%) had culture-confirmed TB. The 8-antigen panel had an AUC of 0.53 (95% CI 0.40-0.66), and the additional 4 antigens did not improve performance (AUC 0.51, 95% CI 0.39-0.64). When sensitivity was restricted to ≥90% for the 8- and 12-antigen panel, specificity was 2.2% (95% CI 0-17.7%) and 8.1% (95% CI 0-23.9%), respectively. A three-antigen combination (Rv0934-P38, Ag85A, and Rv2031-HSPX) outperformed both panels, with an AUC of 0.60 (95% CI 0.48-0.73), 90% sensitivity (95% CI 78.2-96.7%) and 29.7% specificity (95% CI 15.9-47%). The multi-antigen panels did not achieve the target accuracy for a TB triage test among PLHIV. We identified a new combination that improved performance for TB screening in an HIV-positive sample compared to an existing serological panel in Uganda, and suggests an approach to identify novel antigen combinations specifically for screening TB in PLHIV.

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