Development of a two-step nucleic acid amplification test for accurate diagnosis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

Chien Ru Lin, Hsin Yao Wang, Ting Wei Lin, Jang Jih Lu, Jason Chia Hsun Hsieh, Min Hsien Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) remains one of the top 10 leading causes of death globally. The early diagnosis of MTBC can reduce mortality and mitigate disease transmission. However, current nucleic acid amplification diagnostic test methods are generally time-consuming and show suboptimal diagnostic performance, especially in extrapulmonary MTBC samples or acid-fast stain (AFS)-negative cases. Thus, development of an accurate assay for the diagnosis of MTBC is necessary, particularly under the above mentioned conditions. In this study, a single-tube nested real-time PCR assay (N-RTP) was developed and compared with a newly in-house-developed high-sensitivity real-time PCR assay (HS-RTP) using 134 clinical specimens (including 73 pulmonary and 61 extrapulmonary specimens). The amplification efficiency of HS-RTP and N-RTP was 99.8% and 100.7%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of HS-RTP and N-RTP for the diagnosis of MTBC in these specimens were 97.5% (77/79) versus 94.9% (75/79) and 80.0% (44/55) versus 89.1% (49/55), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of HS-RTP and N-RTP for the diagnosis of MTBC in pulmonary specimens were 96.3% (52/54) versus 96.3% (52/54) and 73.7.0% (14/19) versus 89.5% (17/19), respectively; in extrapulmonary specimens, the sensitivity and specificity of HS-RTP and N-RTP were 100% (25/25) versus 92% (23/25) and 83.3% (30/36) versus 88.9% (32/36), respectively. Among the AFS-negative cases, the sensitivity and specificity of HS-RTP and N-RTP were 97.0% (32/33) versus 90.9% (30/33) and 88.0% (44/50) versus 92.0% (46/50), respectively. Overall, the sensitivity of HS-RTP was higher than that of N-RTP, and the performance was not compromised in extrapulmonary specimens and under AFS-negative conditions. In contrast, the specificity of the N-RTP assay was higher than that of the HS-RTP assay in all types of specimens. In conclusion, the HS-RTP assay would be useful for screening patients suspected of exhibiting an MTBC infection due to its higher sensitivity, while the N-RTP assay could be used for confirmation because of its higher specificity. Our results provide a two-step method (screen to confirm) that simultaneously achieves high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of MTBC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5750
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 2021

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