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Open Access Evaluation of OMNIgene®•SPUTUM-stabilised sputum for long-term transport and Xpert® MTB/RIF testing in Nepal

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SETTING: German Nepal TB Project, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Kathmandu, Nepal.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether transporting samples in OMNIgene®•SPUTUM (OM-S) reagent from a peripheral collection site to a central laboratory in Nepal can improve tuberculosis (TB) detection and increase the sensitivity of Xpert® MTB/RIF testing.

DESIGN: One hundred sputum samples were split manually. Each portion was assigned to the OM-S group (OM-S added at collection, airline-couriered without cold chain, no other processing required) or the standard-of-care (SOC) group (samples airline-couriered on ice, sodium hydroxide + N-acetyl-L-cysteine processing required at the laboratory). Smear microscopy and Xpert testing were performed.

RESULTS: Transport time was 2–13 days. Overall smear results were comparable (respectively 58% and 56% smear-negative results in the OM-S and SOC groups). The rate of smear-positive, Mycobacterium tuberculosis-positive (MTB+) sample detection was identical for both treatment groups, at 95%. More smear-negative MTB+ samples were detected in the OM-S group (17% vs. 13%, P = 0.0655).

CONCLUSION: Sputum samples treated with OM-S can undergo multiday ambient-temperature transport and yield comparable smear and Xpert results to those of SOC samples. Further investigation with larger sample sizes is required to assess whether treating sputum samples with OM-S could increase the sensitivity of Xpert testing in smear-negative samples.
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Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Xpert; molecular detection; preservation; specimen transport medium

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: German Nepal TB Project (GENETUP)/Nepal Anti-Tuberculosis Association, Kathmandu, Nepal 2: DNA Genotek, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 3: Kuratorium Tuberkulose in der Welt, München-Gauting, Germany

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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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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