The impact of blood transcriptomic biomarker targeted tuberculosis preventive therapy in people living with HIV: a mathematical modelling study

Background Tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy is recommended for all people living with HIV (PLHIV). Despite the elevated risk of TB amongst PLHIV, most of those eligible for preventive therapy would never develop TB. Tests which can identify individuals at greatest risk of disease would allow more efficient targeting of preventive therapy. Methods We used mathematical modelling to estimate the potential impact of using a blood transcriptomic biomarker (RISK11) to target preventive therapy amongst PLHIV. We compared universal treatment to RISK11 targeted treatment and explored the effect of repeat screening of the population with RISK11. Results Annual RISK11 screening, with preventive therapy provided to those testing positive, could avert 26% (95% CI 13–34) more cases over 10 years compared to one round of universal treatment. For the cost per case averted to be lower than universal treatment, the maximum cost of the RISK11 test was approximately 10% of the cost of preventive therapy. The benefit of RISK11 screening may be greatest amongst PLHIV on ART (compared to ART naïve individuals) due to the increased specificity of the test in this group. Conclusions Biomarker targeted preventive therapy may be more effective than universal treatment amongst PLHIV in high incidence settings but would require repeat screening.