Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Background: With the rise in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, there is a search for newer techniques that will rapidly detect drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although molecular techniques can detect resistance, culture is still considered gold standard, especially in resource-limited settings where quick, cheap, and easy techniques are needed. The aim of the study was to evaluate microcolony method thin layer agar (TLA) for quick detection of resistance against the first- and second-line antituberculous drugs in clinical isolates. This was a cross-sectional study performed at Aga Khan University Hospital.
Material and Methods: A total of 87 Z-N stain smear-positive pulmonary samples were received and indirect drug susceptibility test (ID-DST) was performed using Lowenstein-Jensen and mycobacteria growth indicator tube. Direct DST was performed using TLA on 7H10 agar. TLA was observed twice weekly under microscope for 4 weeks. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were calculated for TLA using indirect susceptibility method as the gold standard. Level of agreement was calculated using Kappa score.
Results: TLA showed sensitivity of 89% and 95.2% for isoniazid and rifampicin, while for ethionamide, ofloxacin, and injectable aminoglycosides, it was 96.6%, 92.1%, and 100%, respectively. Specificity for the first-line drugs was >95% while second-line drugs ranged from 70% to 100%. Mean time to positivity was 10.2 days by TLA as compared to 43.1 days by ID-DST.CONCLUSIONS: TLA is a quick and reliable method in identifying resistance, especially in resource-limited settings. However, additional liquid culture can be set up as backup, especially in patients on therapy to avoid false negative results.


International Journal of Mycobacteriology