Pyrazinamide is a first-line drug for treating tuberculosis, but pyrazinamide resistance testing is usually too slow to guide initial therapy, so some patients receive inappropriate therapy. We therefore aimed to optimize and evaluate a rapid molecular test for tuberculosis drug resistance to pyrazinamide. Tuberculosis PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) was optimized to test for mutations causing pyrazinamide resistance directly from sputum samples and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. The reliability of PCR-SSCP tests for sputum samples (n = 65) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates (n = 185) from 147 patients was compared with four tests for pyrazinamide resistance: Bactec-460 automated culture, the Wayne biochemical test, DNA sequencing for pncA mutations, and traditional microbiological broth culture. PCR-SSCP provided interpretable results for 96% (46/48) of microscopy-positive sputum samples, 76% (13/17) of microscopy-negative sputum samples, and 100% of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. There was 100% agreement between PCR-SSCP results from sputum samples and Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates and 100% concordance between 50 blinded PCR-SSCP rereadings by three observers. PCR-SSCP agreement with the four other tests for pyrazinamide resistance varied from 89 to 97%. This was similar to how frequently the four other tests for pyrazinamide resistance agreed with each other: 90 to 94% for Bactec-460, 90 to 95% for Wayne, 92 to 95% for sequencing, and 91 to 95% for broth culture. PCR-SSCP took less than 24 hours and cost approximately $3 to $6, in contrast with the other assays, which took 3 to 14 weeks and cost $7 to $47. In conclusion, PCR-SSCP is a relatively reliable, rapid, and inexpensive test for pyrazinamide resistance that indicates which patients should receive pyrazinamide from the start of therapy, potentially preventing months of inappropriate treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)