Emerging Rapid Resistance Testing Methods for Clinical Microbiology Laboratories and Their Potential Impact on Patient Management
The current study describes the development of a unique real-time PCR assay for the detection of mutations conferring drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The rifampicin resistance determinant region (RRDR) of rpoB and specific regions of katG and the inhA promoter were targeted for the detection of rifampin (RIF) and isoniazid (INH) resistance, respectively. Additionally, this assay was multiplexed to discriminate Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) strains from nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) strains by targeting the IS6110 insertion element. High-resolution melting (HRM) analysis following real-time PCR was used to identify M. tuberculosis strains containing mutations at the targeted loci, and locked nucleic acid (LNA) probes were used to enhance the detection of strains containing specific single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) transversion mutations. This method was used to screen 252 M. tuberculosis clinical isolates, including 154 RIF-resistant strains and 174 INH-resistant strains based on the agar proportion method of drug susceptibility testing (DST). Of the 154 RIF-resistant strains, 148 were also resistant to INH and therefore classified as multidrug resistant (MDR). The assay demonstrated sensitivity and specificity of 91% and 98%, respectively, for the detection of RIF resistance and 87% and 100% for the detection of INH resistance. Overall, this assay showed a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 98% for the detection of MDR strains. This method provides a rapid, robust, and inexpensive way to detect the dominant mutations known to confer MDR in M. tuberculosis strains and offers several advantages over current molecular and culture-based techniques.