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Abstract Background Talaromycosis is an invasive mycosis endemic in Southeast Asia and causes substantial morbidity and mortality in individuals with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. Current diagnosis relies on isolating Talaromyces marneffei in cultures, which takes up to 14 days and is detectable only during late-stage infection, leading to high mortality. Methods In this retrospective case-control study, we assessed the accuracy of a novel Mp1p antigen-detecting enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in stored plasma samples of 372 patients who had culture-proven talaromycosis from blood or sterile body fluids (reference standard) and 517 individuals without talaromycosis (338 healthy volunteers; 179 with other infections). All participants were recruited between 2011 and 2017 in Vietnam. Results Of cases and controls, 66.1% and 75.4%, respectively, were male; the median age was 33 and 37, respectively. All cases were HIV infected; median CD4 count was 10 cells/μL. At an optical density cutoff of 0.5, the specificity was 98.1% (95% CI, 96.3%–99.0%); the sensitivity was superior to blood culture (86.3% [95% CI, 82.3%–89.5%] vs 72.8% [95% CI, 68.0%–77.2%]) (P < .001, McNemar test). The time to diagnosis was 6 hours vs 6.6 ± 3.0 days for blood culture. Paired plasma and urine testing in the same patients (n = 269) significantly increased sensitivity compared to testing plasma alone or testing urine alone (P < .001 and P = .02, respectively, McNemar test). Conclusions The Mp1p EIA is highly specific and is superior in sensitivity and time to diagnosis compared to blood culture for the diagnosis of talaromycosis. Paired plasma and urine testing further increases sensitivity, introducing a new tool for rapid diagnosis, enabling early treatment and potentially reducing mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Infectious Diseases


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





e330 - e336