According to RGTB Hospital Director Dr Banavalekar the TB antibody test cannot detect whether you have active TB or not. At least 70 per cent of all TB patients first go to a private doctor and 90 per cent of private doctors prescribe this test. It is a useless test but is a way of minting money as it costs around Rs 1500 per person.
The World Health Organisation's latest TB policy, after reviewing 94 studies globally, clearly advises against it. The TB DOTS programme in India doesn't use it. Yet, 1.5 million Indians are still given the TB antibody test every year.
TB Programme DDG Ashok Kumar said, "They are costly, they are not useful, they cannot help in the diagnosis, so why should a patient or suspect suffer this financial loss? We in India have issued an advisory to all our state governments, the practitioners that these serological tests are not good."
The WHO said that it is not only a waste of resources but also unnecessary treatment which will develop side effects and it also contributes to overuse of antibiotics.