New research found that a community-based strategy involving a nucleic-acid amplification test that can detect both Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA and rifampicin resistance increased the rate of tuberculosis case detection and early treatment initiation.

Researchers performed a multicenter, randomized trial to compare novel diagnostic tools — including the rapid molecular Xpert-MTB/RIF(Cepheid) assay and, if HIV–infected, the Determine TB LAM (Alere) urine test — with routine, laboratory-based sputum smear microscopy for intensified case finding in communities with high TB and HIV prevalence in Cape Town, South Africa, and Harare, Zimbabwe.

Out of 2,261 individuals screened between Oct. 18, 2013, and March 31, 2015, only 39% met the criteria for diagnostic testing. Of these 875 participants, the researchers assigned 439 to the novel group and 436 to the routine group. They confirmed that 74 (9%) of the participants had TB.