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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2008 Dec;12(12):1482-4.

Rapid detection of rifampicin and isoniazid resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by the direct thin-layer agar method.

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Bacteriology and Mycobacteriology Unit, Corporación para Investigaciones Biológicas and Escuela de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Medellín, Colombia.


We evaluated thin-layer agar (TLA) for the detection of resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to rifampicin (RMP) and isoniazid (INH) as a direct method in patients at risk of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Quadrant TLA plates contain 7H10 Middlebrook growth control, para-nitrobenzoic acid, INH and RMP. Detection of RMP and INH resistance by TLA was compared to that in indirect conventional drug susceptibility testing (DST) and conventional culture media. Median time for growth was respectively 22, 10 and 7.6 days for Löwenstein-Jensen, TLA and the Mycobacterial Growth Indicator Tube. TLA sensitivity, specificity and predictive values for RMP and INH resistance were 100%. Time to resistance detection was respectively 11 and 11.5 days for RMP and INH. TLA showed a rapid turnaround time and performance comparable to conventional DST methods.

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