Improving detection of drug-resistant tuberculosis

May 2, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- European researchers are developing new assays to detect drug resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Early detection of drug resistance constitutes one of the priorities of (TB) control programmes. It allows initiation of the appropriate treatment in patients and also surveillance of drug resistance. Associated with this problem is the emergence of multi-drug–resistant (MDR) and extensive drug-resistant (XDR) strains of M. tuberculosis.

Detection of drug resistance has been performed in the past by so-called ‘conventional methods’ based on detection of growth of M. tuberculosis in the presence of antibiotics. Such methods are, however, time consuming and thus necessitates the development of easier, and more reliable and rapid assays.

The main objective of the EU-funded FAST-XDR-Detect project was to develop an assay for the rapid detection of drug-resistant M. tuberculosis. Project partners used a method known as rifoligotyping which involves amplification of the genomic sequence of the bacteria found in TB patients, followed by hybridisation against the wild-type sequence. This molecular assay was optimised for detection of resistance to rifampicin and isoniazid, two of the most common anti-tuberculosis antibiotics.

At the same time, efforts were made to optimise an assay that can detect antibiotic-resistant strains directly from patient sputum for the simultaneous detection of MDR and XDR . This assay is expected to reduce processing time and allow the identification of drug-resistant strains based on phenotypic criteria.

Additionally, new mutations responsible for drug resistance were sequenced and entered into an existing database with all gene mutations associated with drug resistance in TB. Researchers also sought to explore the possibility that other candidate genes could be contributing to the emergence of new forms of drug resistance.

FAST-XDR-Detect project developed assays for the rapid and sensitive detection of MDR and XDR M. tuberculosis. More effective screening methods for TB will improve the surveillance of , prompting health authorities to initiate appropriate correction measures.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Antibody found that fight MERS coronavirus

July 28, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found a MERS neutralizing antibody—a discovery that could perhaps lead to a treatment for people infected with the virus. In their paper published in Proceedings ...

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.