Countries in which tuberculosis (TB) is common are countries with lower economical conditions and less laboratory opportunities, so diagnostic tests for tuberculosis should not only be rapid and sensitive, but they should also be cheap, reliable and easily applicable. Current initiatives targeting the development of new diagnostic tests have increased the pace of identification and testing of a number of potentially useful innovations. Novel diagnostic methods for use in TB epidemiological studies are highly desirable. Detection of mycobacterial species (excluding Mycobacterium tuberculosis) using molecular methods is cheaper and simpler than conventional cultural detection, however, culture is still the gold standard in the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB); even molecular and non-molecular tests cannot replace it. Results of molecular and non-molecular methods should be evaluated together with culture, microscopy, and clinical findings. When using these tests (conventional methods for example microscopy and culture; phagotypic and chromatographic methods; molecular methods for example nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAAT) and solid-phase hybridisation assays; serology) in a country with limited economical resources, cost/effectiveness analysis should be made carefully. This review examines the recent advances in the diagnosis of MTB in humans.
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