A polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation method was used to examine sera of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis (PT), leprosy and non-tuberculous pulmonary diseases and of healthy control subjects for immune complexes (ICs). antigen 5 was detected in the ICs in 80% of patients with PT by the indirect (sandwich) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Detection of mycobacterial antigen in ICs has diagnostic potential as an adjunct in the laboratory diagnosis of PT, particularly when repeated bacteriological investigations for in clinical specimens are negative. Levels of ICs tend to decrease with the duration of anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy and their detection can also be used to assess the clinical response to therapy in patients with PT.


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