Immunologic tests for the diagnosis of tuberculosis
Chaparas, Sotiros D. (1985) Immunologic tests for the diagnosis of tuberculosis. Indian Journal of Tuberculosis, 32 (1). pp. 3-18.
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The extensive antigenic sharing between species of mycobacteria often complicates the diagnostic value of serologic tests and tests for cellular hypersensitivity in tuberculosis. Purification of antigens or the preparation of hybridoma monoclonal antibodies offer only a partial solution in that the immunologic response to Mycobacierium tuberculosis is variable so that a battery of “pure” antigens or monoclonal antibodies, highly specific for the tubercle bacillus, may be required for satisfactory sensitivity. The multi determinant nature of antigens further complicates a full solution to specificity. Although a single antigen molecule may possess epitopes specific for M. tuberculosis it may also bear nonspecific ones. The tests available today are sensitive and useful as aids in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. In many situations a high liter or a strong tuberculin reaction may provide strong indications of a tuberculous infection. However, a diagnosis must consider other criteria as well, such as, clinical symptoms, radiological findings and, especially, isolation and identification of the etiologic agent.
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