SeekTB, a two-stage multiplex real-time-PCR-based method for differentiation of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

Kate Reddington, Alimuddin Zumla, Matthew Bates, Dick van Soolingen, Stefan Niemann, Thomas Barry, Justin O'Grady

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculosis (TB) in humans is caused by members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). The accurate identification of the MTC member causing human infection is important because the treatment of TB caused by some MTC members requires an alteration of the standard drug regimen, it can inform whether transmission is human to human or zoonotic, and it enables accurate epidemiology studies that help improve TB control. In this study, an internally controlled two-stage multiplex real-time PCR-based method, SeekTB, was developed for the accurate identification of all members of the MTC. The method was tested against a panel of well-characterized bacterial strains (n = 180) and determined to be 100% specific for members of the MTC. Additionally, 125 Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT)-positive cultures were blindly tested by using SeekTB, and the results were compared to those of the GenoType MTBC and TBc ID tests. The SeekTB and GenoType MTBC results were 100% concordant, identifying 84 of these isolates as M. tuberculosis isolates and 41 as non-MTC isolates. Nine discordant results between the molecular methods and the TBc ID culture confirmation test were observed; however, nucleotide sequencing confirmed the results obtained with GenoType MTBC and SeekTB. SeekTB is the first-described internally controlled multiplex real-time PCR diagnostic method for the accurate identification of all eight members of the MTC. This method, designed for use on cultured patient samples, is specific, sensitive, and rapid, with a turnaround time to results of approximately 1.5 to 3.5 h, depending on which, if any, member of the MTC is present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2203-2206
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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