Scientific reports

Improved performance of the artus Mycobacterium tuberculosis RG PCR kit in a low incidence setting: a retrospective monocentric study.

PMID 29074852


Tuberculosis (TB) and the spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains resistant against rifampin (RIF) and isoniazid (INH) pose a serious threat to global health. However, rapid and reliable MTBC detection along with RIF/INH susceptibility testing are challenging in low prevalence countries due to the higher rate of false positives. Here, we provide the first performance data for the artus MTBC PCR assay in a low prevalence setting. We analyze 1323 respiratory and 311 non-respiratory samples with the artus MTBC PCR assay as well as by mycobacterial culture and microscopy. We propose retesting of specimens in duplicate and consideration of a determined cycle-threshold value cut-off greater than 34, as this significantly increases accuracy, specificity, and negative predictive value without affecting sensitivity. Furthermore, we tested fourteen MTBC positive samples with the GenoType MTBDRplus test and demonstrate that using an identical DNA extraction protocol for both assays does not impair downstream genotypic testing for RIF and INH susceptibility. In conclusion, our procedure optimizes the use of the artus MTB assay with workload efficient methods in a low incidence setting. Combining the modified artus MTB with the GenoType MTBDRplus assays allows rapid and accurate detection of MTBC and RIF/INH resistance.