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Population tailored modification of tuberculosis specific interferon-gamma release assay

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journal contribution
posted on 05.08.2020 by Kata Horvati, Szilvia Bősze, Hannah P Gideon, Bernadett Bacsa, Tamás G Szabó, Rene Goliath, Molebogeng X Rangaka, Ferenc Hudecz, Robert J Wilkinson, Katalin A Wilkinson
OBJECTIVES: Blood-based Interferon-Gamma Release Assays (IGRA) identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) sensitisation with increased specificity, but sensitivity remains impaired in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected persons. The QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test contains peptide 38-55 of Rv2654c, based on data indicating differential recognition between tuberculosis patients and BCG vaccinated controls in Europe. We aimed to fine map the T cell response to Rv2654c with the view of improving sensitivity. METHODS: Interferon-gamma ELISpot assay was used in HIV uninfected persons with latent and active tuberculosis to map peptide epitopes of Rv2654c. A modified IGRA was tested in two further groups of 55 HIV uninfected and 44 HIV infected persons, recruited in South Africa. RESULTS: The most prominently recognised peptide was between amino acids 51-65. Using p51-65 to boost the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube assay, the quantitative performance of the modified IGRA increased from 1.83 IU/ml (IQR 0.30-7.35) to 2.83 (IQR 0.28-12.2; p = 0.002) in the HIV uninfected group. In the HIV infected cohort the percentage of positive responders increased from 57% to 64% but only after 3 months of ART (p = ns). CONCLUSIONS: Our data shows the potential to population tailor detection of MTB sensitization using specific synthetic peptides and interferon-gamma release in vitro.