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Free Content Integrated detection of multi- and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis using the nitrate reductase assay [Technical note]

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It currently takes 2–3 months to obtain a diagnosis for multidrug-resistant (MDR-) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). We evaluated the rapid non-commercial nitrate reductase assay (NRA), which is capable of the simultaneous detection of MDR- and XDR-TB, and compared the results with the proportion method (PM). The sensitivity was respectively 97%, 99%, 100% and 94.6% for rifampicin (RMP), isoniazid (INH), ofloxacin (OFX) and kanamycin (KM). The specificity was respectively 100%, 95%, 95.7% and 99% for RMP, INH, OFX and KM. The turnaround time for NRA was 10–14 days, compared to 4–6 weeks for the PM. Our study showed that NRA provided sensitive and specific detection of resistance to first- and second-line drugs.

Keywords: MDR-TB; NRA; XDR-TB

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Mycobacteriology Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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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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