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US College Students Needing TB Testing Now Have the Benefit of QFT(TM)

August 28, 2008

MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ — Students attending US colleges that require tuberculosis (TB) testing will now benefit from interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) such as QuantiFERON(R)-TB Gold (QFT(TM)), with the release of update TB testing guidelines from the American College Health Association (ACHA). In the past, students would have been tested with the tuberculin skin test (TST) which is known to suffer from false-positive results due to cross-reactivity with BCG vaccine and commonly encountered environmental non-tuberculous mycobacteria. False-positive TST responses particularly plague students from high TB incidence countries as many of them are vaccinated with BCG at birth. Reading a TST response is subjective and large discrepancies in interpretation can occur between trained professionals. These limitations of the TST can now be overcome through use of QFT.

Studies have shown that QFT is more accurate than the TST as it is not affected by BCG vaccination exposure to non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Greater accuracy means universities have to spend less money and time during the screening process. It streamlines the admission process and provides easier test administration for both universities and students as only one medical consultation is required; results are objective and can be available within 24 hours. Most importantly, treatment is dispensed to individuals truly infected with TB.

Each year US universities/colleges host approximately 500,000 international students. Many of these students come from high TB incidence areas within Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central and South America. The ACHA guidelines build on those issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which state that QFT “can be used in all circumstances in which the TST is currently used” The ACHA recommends screening all incoming students, but particularly targeting those at increased risk for TB, which includes students from countries with a high incidence of TB disease (greater than or equal to 20 cases / 100,000 population). These students should be tested for latent TB infection (with either QFT or the TST), to reduce the risk of developing active TB disease. Additionally the ACHA guidelines recommend that health profession students, whether incoming or continuing, should be tested annually.

QFT is being used by a growing number of US colleges and universities including the University of Tennessee Health Science Center which published the first report of a college TB control program utilizing QFT (Vesser et al 2007). The report showed that QFT can be successfully implemented and is well accepted as an addition to a campus-wide TB surveillance program.

References

ACHA Guidelines-Tuberculosis Screening and Targeted Testing of College and University Students.

http://www.acha.org/Info_resources/tb_statement.pdf

Centers for Disease Control MMWR Dec 16 2005, Vol. 54, No. RR-15. Veeser PI, Smith PK, Handy B, Martin SR.

Tuberculosis screening on a health science campus: use of QuantiFERON-TB Gold test for students and employees. J Am Coll Health 2007; 56:175-80.

About QuantiFERON(R)-TB Gold (QFT(TM)):

QFT — a simple blood test — is the first major advance in TB diagnosis since the introduction of the tuberculin skin test (TST) over 100 years ago. The QFT test is based on measurement of a cell-mediated immune response in TB- infected individuals. The T-cells of these individuals are sensitized to TB, and respond to stimulation with peptides simulating those expressed by the TB causing bacteria, secreting a cytokine called interferon-gamma. QFT accurately measures the interferon-gamma response in a sensitive enzyme assay. QFT is unaffected by previous BCG vaccination and most other mycobacteria. Unlike the TST, it requires only one patient visit, is a controlled laboratory test, and provides an objective, reproducible result that is not subject to interpretation based on a patient’s relative risk factors for TB exposure.

   To find a laboratory that provides QFT testing, visit http://www.quantiferon.com/    About Cellestis:  

Cellestis is a listed Australian biotechnology company commercializing QuantiFERON technology for diagnosing TB and other diseases worldwide. The Company operates through subsidiaries in the USA, Europe and Australia.

For more information, visit http://www.cellestis.com/ or please contact one of our local spokespersons at:

   Cellestis International   AUSTRALIA   Tel: +61 3 9571 3500   quantiferon@cellestis.com   (Contact Mr. George Dragovic)    Cellestis Europe   GERMANY   Tel: +49 6151 428 590   europe@cellestis.com   (Contact Mr. Paul Lebeau)    Cellestis Inc.   USA   US Toll free: +1 800 519 4627   customer.service@cellestis.com   (Contact Mr. Mark Boyle)  

Cellestis Limited

CONTACT: In Australia, Mr. George Dragovic of Cellestis International,+61-3-9571-3500, quantiferon@cellestis.com; In Germany, Mr. Paul Lebeau ofCellestis Europe, +49-6151-428-590, europe@cellestis.com; In the USA, Mr. MarkBoyle of Cellestis Inc., 1-800-519-4627, customer.service@cellestis.com

Web site: http://www.cellestis.com/http://www.quantiferon.com/




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