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Volume 50, Number 2, April 2017

 Fast and efficient detection of tuberculosis antigens using liposome encapsulated secretory proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Dileep Tiwari, Shafiul Haque, Ram P. Tiwari, Arshad Jawed, Thavendran Govender, Hendrik G. Kruger


Corresponding author:

Deleep Tiwari, Corresponding author. Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa. Tel.: +27 744969635; fax: +27 31 2603091. 


Background and purpose: 

A rapid and efficient diagnostic test was developed for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens in serum samples of active tuberculosis (TB) and extrapulmonary TB patients via a liposomal agglutination-based method.




A rapid card test has been developed to facilitate the recognition of high-affinity binding rabbit raised purified culture filtrate protein antibodies coupled on the surface of activated liposomal preparation. In the presence of TB antigens, the polyclonal antibodies bound to the liposomal particles demonstrate a visible agglutination reaction. 



The developed assay was simple, rapid, reliable, sensitive, and specific as a diagnostic test for the detection of antigens in serum samples of clinically confirmed cases of TB within 4–5 minutes' duration. The test was evaluated at different hospitals, medical colleges, and pathology centers, and involved 1483 participants. This investigation was conducted to detect the presence of these antigens during the period of active growth of the microorganism in serum samples for pulmonary TB and processed tissue biopsy for other extrapulmonary TB. Results obtained using this test were compared with acid-fast bacilli smear and culture results. 



Our study demonstrated that the newly developed liposome tuberculosis antigen card test detected antigens in our study population with approximately 97.48% sensitivity and 95.79% specificity. This is the first study to report the liposomal encapsulation of culture filtrate proteins from M. tuberculosis for diagnostic application. 


Key words:

Active tuberculosis, Antigen, Liposome, Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv, Secretory protein antibody