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Free Content A pilot external quality assurance programme for line-probe assay detection of anti-tuberculosis drug resistance

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BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB; resistance to isoniazid and rifampicin) is difficult to detect and control. Line-probe assays (LiPA) are widely used for the rapid detection of MDR-TB.

OBJECTIVE: To ensure the quality of the test, a pilot external quality assurance (EQA) programme was initiated to assess the feasibility of running such a programme and the possibility of improving the proficiency of TB laboratories in performing the test.

DESIGN: Prepared filter-paper-based Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA samples were shipped to participant laboratories for LiPA EQA. The tests were performed blind, and the results were returned to the organising laboratory for comparison and analysis.

RESULTS: A total of four rounds of EQA samples were dispatched to five laboratories in four countries. Overall inter- and intra-laboratory reproducibility was respectively 97% and 96%. The strengths and weaknesses of the participant laboratories in performing the test were discussed.

CONCLUSION: A LiPA EQA programme can ensure quality and improve the performance of TB laboratories. This is a critical step during the initial stages at the time of setting up this method of testing.
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Keywords: MDR-TB; laboratory; molecular; rapid tests

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Public Health Laboratory Services Branch, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR, China

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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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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