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J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Dec;48(12):4573-9. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00687-10. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

Diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV-positive patients by microscopic observation drug susceptibility assay.

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  • 1Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital, and Wellcome Trust Mamor Overseas Programme, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, 120 Hung Vuong, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


The microscopic observation drug susceptibility assay (MODS) is a novel and promising test for the early diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). We evaluated the MODS assay for the early diagnosis of TB in HIV-positive patients presenting to Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases in southern Vietnam. A total of 738 consecutive sputum samples collected from 307 HIV-positive individuals suspected of TB were tested by smear, MODS, and the mycobacteria growth indicator tube method (MGIT). The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of MODS compared to the microbiological gold standard (either smear or MGIT) were 87 and 93%, respectively. The sensitivities of smear, MODS, and MGIT were 57, 71, and 75%, respectively, against clinical gold standard (MODS versus smear, P<0.001; MODS versus MGIT, P=0.03). The clinical gold standard was defined as patients who had a clinical examination and treatment consistent with TB, with or without microbiological confirmation. For the diagnosis of smear-negative patients, the sensitivities of MODS and MGIT were 38 and 45%, respectively (P=0.08). The median times to detection using MODS and MGIT were 8 and 11 days, respectively, and they were 11 and 17 days, respectively, for smear-negative samples. The original bacterial/fungal contamination rate of MODS was 1.1%, while it was 2.6% for MGIT. The cross-contamination rate of MODS was 4.7%. In conclusion, MODS is a sensitive, specific, and rapid test that is appropriate for the detection of HIV-associated TB; its cost and ease of use make it particularly useful in resource-limited settings.

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