TBXpert: Innovative diagnostics for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)

GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay is a rapid diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) and drug resistance (Image: USAID)

A quick, reliable test for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.


Conventional diagnosis for tuberculosis (TB) involves laboratory examination of sputum and can take up to two months to produce results.


The project provided Xpert MTB/RIF (rifampicin) test cartridges for the rapid detection of TB. The Xpert test provides dependable results from sputum samples in less than two hours and detects resistance to rifampicin, a drug commonly used to treat TB. Unitaid and its partners in the project negotiated a price cut from US $17 to less than US $10 for the test cartridges.

Impact achieved

The TBXpert project is estimated to have detected almost 245,000 TB patients, including approximately 54,000 rifampicin-resistant patients and 22,000 co-infected HIV positive patients, far exceeding the original project targets. More 230 GeneXpert® machines and 1.4 million test cartridges were purchased for use in 21 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Some 145 countries – including all 21 in the TBXpert Project – are now benefitting from a 40 percent price reduction for cartridges. Results show that the reduced prices have helped to achieve significant cost efficiencies in TB case detection. In 2016 alone, 6.9 million Xpert MTB/RIF cartridges were procured at the reduced price, saving almost US $50 million worldwide. Even countries not directly supported by Unitaid have benefited from the price reduction.

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