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Free Content Cost-effectiveness of rapid susceptibility testing against second-line drugs for tuberculosis

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Drug susceptibility testing (DST) against second-line tuberculosis drugs (SLDs) is essential for improving outcomes among multidrug-resistant (MDR-) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) cases.


To evaluate the potential cost-effectiveness of rapid DST for SLDs.


We constructed a decision analysis model of Xpert® MTB/RIF-based TB diagnosis in East and South-East Asia to compare culture-based DST vs. a hypothetical rapid SLD DST system for specimens resistant to rifampin. Our primary outcomes were the effectiveness and incremental cost-effectiveness of a rapid SLD DST assay relative to culture-based DST.


For rapid SLD DST to be more effective than culture-based DST, treating individuals with pre-XDR/XDR-TB with a standardized MDR-TB regimen while awaiting culture-based DST must incur at least 30% excess XDR-TB mortality (100% = treatment with first-line drugs); rapid SLD DST should attain an aggregate sensitivity and specificity for all pre-XDR/XDR mutations of 88% and 96%, respectively. The unit cost of the rapid SLD DST assay must approach that of culture to achieve common thresholds for cost-effectiveness in low-income countries.


Rapid SLD DST has the potential to be cost-effective, but must meet stringent criteria for accuracy and costs, and requires that standardized second-line treatment for pre-XDR/XDR-TB incur substantial excess mortality before the return of culture results.
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Keywords: diagnostic methods and procedures; drug resistance; economic models; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2: Department of Global Health and Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 3: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Publication date: 01 June 2014

More about this publication?
  • 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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