Author(s): A Telenti, H N Honor, C Bernasconi, J March, A Ortega
Progress in understanding the basis of resistance to isoniazid (INH) and rifampin (RMP) has allowed molecular tests for the detection of drug-resistant tuberculosis to be developed. Consecutive isolates (n = 95) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, from a Spanish reference laboratory investigating outbreaks of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, were coded and sent to two external laboratories for genotypic analysis of INH and RMP resistance by PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of specific regions of four genes: part of the coding sequence of katG and the promoter regions of inhA and ahpC for INH and the RMP resistance region of rpoB. After correction for the presence of outbreak strains and multiple isolates from single patients, RMP resistance was detected successfully by PCR-SSCP in > 96% of the RMP-resistant strains. PCR-SSCP had a sensitivity of 87% for INH resistance detection, and mutations in katG, inhA, katG-inhA, ahpC, and katG-ahpC were identified in 36.8, 31.6, 2.6, 13.2, and 2.6%, respectively, of the unique strains. Specificity was 100%. Molecular detection of resistance to the two main antituberculous drugs, INH and RMP, can be accomplished accurately by using a strategy which limits analysis to four genetic regions. This may allow the expedient analysis of drug resistance by reference laboratories.