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Development of a molecular platform for the simultaneous detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance to rifampicin and fluoroquinolones

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Improving TB diagnosis

Multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) is an ongoing health threat worldwide. Research to improve detection methods and treatment options are the only ways for tackling the disease.

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Early diagnosis of TB is critical for the containment of drug resistance. As a result, accurate and sensitive detection methods are required. To this aim, the EU-funded TB-DRUG Oligocolor project generated a molecular platform for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The plan was to be able to detect in clinical specimens the Mycobacterium strains that exhibited resistance to the known anti-TB drugs, rifampicin and fluoroquinolones. For this purpose, consortium scientists modified the detection of the immobilised amplified product in one phase system (DIAPOPS) technique to be able to detect Human leukocyte antigens (HLA-A alleles) and bovine leukemia virus as markers of tuberculosis susceptibility and drug resistance. Additionally, the project worked on the detection of resistance to fluoroquinolones by analysing a collection of M. tuberculosis clinical isolates with known phenotypical susceptibility or resistance to these antibiotics. The gyrA gene was sequenced to assess new mutations associated with quinolone resistance. A small pre-clinical evaluation of the platform prototype gave encouraging results, indicating that it could soon be exploited commercially. The consortium is hopeful that implementation of this novel detection technique in the clinic will contribute towards the early identification of drug-resistant TB.

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