Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Members of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit’s Tuberculosis group have contributed to the World Health Organization's latest edition of the tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic handbook. The "WHO operational handbook on tuberculosis" is an important resource for the rapid detection and diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB).

Released on March 20, 2024, this third edition of the handbook introduces the use of targeted next-generation sequencing (tNGS) for drug susceptibility testing, an update from the previous version published in 2021. This method offers a more efficient way to detect resistance to TB medications directly from patient samples. The new handbook represents a global effort by WHO and its partners to enhance the quality of TB diagnosis, contributing to the goal of eliminating tuberculosis by 2030. 

Dr Timothy Walker and Dr Phan Trieu Phu from TB Group (OUCRU Ho Chi Minh) were part of the systematic review team that contributed to the development of this handbook. Their involvement reflects OUCRU’s ongoing efforts to contribute to global health improvements through research. 

The handbook is designed to support the practical application of WHO’s recommendations by healthcare professionals managing TB. It includes guidance on the introduction and scale-up of new diagnostic tests, updated diagnostic algorithms, and budgetary considerations.  

This latest edition emphasizes the shift towards using tNGS over traditional, culture-based testing methods. This change is expected to speed up the identification of drug-resistant TB, facilitating more timely treatments for those affected. 

OUCRU’s collaboration with WHO on this project illustrates its dedication to supporting infectious disease research with practical applications. It is an example of how OUCRU’s work can have impact on health policy and practice far beyond the immediate region.  

The WHO operational handbook on tuberculosis can be downloaded here

Similar stories

Sepsis patients could get the right treatment faster based on their genes

Sepsis patients could be treated based on their immune system’s response to infection, not their symptoms. New research uncovers how different people respond to sepsis based on their genetic makeup, which could help identify who would benefit from certain treatments and lead to the development of targeted therapies.