Use of whole genome sequencing in surveillance of drug resistant tuberculosis.

McNerney, R; Zignol, M; Clark, TG; (2018) Use of whole genome sequencing in surveillance of drug resistant tuberculosis. Expert review of anti-infective therapy. ISSN 1478-7210 DOI:

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The threat of resistance to anti-tuberculosis drugs is of global concern. Current efforts to monitor resistance rely on phenotypic testing where cultured bacteria are exposed to critical concentrations of the drugs. Capacity for such testing is low in TB endemic countries. Drug resistance is caused by mutations in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome and whole genome sequencing to detect these mutations offers an alternative means of assessing resistance. Areas covered: The challenges of assessing TB drug resistance are discussed. Progress in elucidating the M. tuberculosis resistome and evidence of the accuracy of next generation sequencing for detecting resistance is reviewed. Expert Commentary: There are considerable advantages to using next generation sequencing for TB drug resistance surveillance. Accuracy is high for detecting resistance to the major first-line drugs but is currently lower for the second-line drugs due to our incomplete knowledge regarding resistance causing mutations. With the advances in sequencing technology and the opportunity to replace phenotypic drug susceptibility testing with safer and more cost effective methods it would appear that the question is when to implement. Current bottlenecks are sample extraction to allow whole genome sequencing directly from sputum and the lack of bioinformatics expertise in some TB endemic countries.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Pathogen Molecular Biology
Research Centre: Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (AMR)
TB Centre
PubMed ID: 29718745


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