Tuberculosis (TB)

TB diagnostics and laboratories

A high-quality laboratory system that uses modern diagnostics is a prerequisite for the early, rapid and accurate detection of TB and drug resistance. Uptake of TB diagnostic technologies requires appropriate laboratory infrastructure, sufficient human resources and adequate policy reform at country level to enable their effective use in TB screening and diagnostic algorithms. WHO has established a structured, systematic process to rapidly review the evidence base for new TB diagnostics, ensuring that new tools meet the required performance standards.

fact buffet

SRL Network

36specialized laboratories members of WHO TB Supranational Reference Laboratory Network

Read about the SRL Network


117countries have notified at least one case of XDR-TB



7mApproximately 7 million Xpert MTB/RIF cartridges procured annually in public sector at concessional pricing

More about Xpert MTB/RIF

Key topics

WHO policies on diagnostics and laboratory strenghtening

The landscape of TB diagnostics continues to evolve, with new technologies at various stages in the product development pipeline. WHO follows a systematic process for policy development, involving synthesis of the available data through systematic reviews, assessment of the evidence by a Guideline Development Group using the GRADE approach, and development of policy guidance for dissemination to Member States and other stake holders.

Global Laboratory Initiative

Coordinated by the GLI Core Group with support from the Secretariat provided by the WHO Global TB Programme, the mission of the GLI and its network of international partners is to serve as a collaborative platform for the development and uptake of practical guidance and tools for building and sustaining high-quality TB diagnostic networks.

WHO TB Supranational Reference Laboratory Network

The WHO TB Supranational Reference Laboratory (SRL) Network was created in 1994 to support the Global Project on Anti-TB Drug Resistance Surveillance, but has since grown to become a leading resource for the provision of technical assistance for TB laboratory strengthening globally.

Chest radiography in tuberculosis detection

Chest radiography is an essential tool for the early detection of TB, and therefore fundamental to achieve the targets set out in WHO’s End TB Strategy. The WHO has released a consolidated summary of WHO recommendations on the use chest radiography in TB detection and guidance on programmatic approaches.

News and events