Despite significant advances in global tuberculosis (TB) control over the last two decades, TB remains the ninth leading cause of death globally and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent. Rapid diagnosis of active pulmonary tuberculosis is critical from the perspectives of TB control programs and treating clinicians to identify potentially infectious individuals, facilitate prompt treatment initiation, and reduce transmission. Although sputum smear microscopy and mycobacterial culture have long been used for diagnosis, molecular diagnostic methods have advanced significantly in both public health and clinical laboratory settings over the last two decades.

Among these technologies, Xpert MTB/RIF has transformed tuberculosis diagnosis in low- and middle-income countries, allowing for the early beginning of therapy and infection control activities. Increased availability, deployment, and efficacy evaluations of developing diagnostic instruments will be a key component of ongoing TB eradication programs and further refine their performance.