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Free Content Evaluation of the resazurin assay for the detection of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Madagascar

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SETTING: Multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) can jeopardise the success of national TB control programmes. Rapid, simple drug susceptibility tests applicable in developing countries would allow earlier treatment of patients with MDR infections.

OBJECTIVE: To test the feasibility and performance of the resazurin microtitre assay (REMA) as an indirect test for detecting isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RMP) resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in Madagascar.

DESIGN: Study comparing the sensitivity and specificity of the REMA plate test with the Löwenstein-Jensen proportion method for determining the resistance of M. tuberculosis strains to INH and RMP.

RESULTS: The sensitivity and specificity of the resazurin test were studied in 77 strains and were respectively 95% and 97.3% for the detection of INH resistance, and 95% and 100% for the detection of RMP resistance. The sensitivity and specificity for the identification of MDR strains were respectively 89% and 100%.

CONCLUSION: The resazurin test is sensitive and specific enough for the detection of INH- and RMP-resistant strains. It is also easy to use, rapid and inexpensive, making it suitable for developing countries. Its usefulness for national drug resistance surveys should be assessed.
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Keywords: Madagascar; multidrug resistance; resazurin; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Unité des Mycobactéries, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Antananarivo, Madagascar 2: Mycobacteriology Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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