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J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Nov;48(11):3943-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00851-10. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Detection and identification of Mycobacterium spp. in clinical specimens by combining the Roche Cobas Amplicor Mycobacterium tuberculosis assay with Mycobacterium genus detection and nucleic acid sequencing.

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Nationales Zentrum für Mykobakterien, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland.


We have recently developed a PCR assay for detection of Mycobacterium spp. at the genus level based on the Cobas Amplicor platform. The sensitivities for smear-positive and smear-negative specimens were found to be 100% and 47.9%, respectively. The specificity was 97.7%, the positive predictive value 84.6%, and the negative predictive value 93.1%. In a follow-up study, we have systematically evaluated the Mycobacterium genus assay in parallel with the Cobas Amplicor Mycobacterium tuberculosis assay on 2,169 clinical specimens, including respiratory and nonrespiratory specimens. Based on the genus assay, nontuberculous mycobacteria were readily detected and identified to the species level by PCR-mediated sequencing. In addition, our data point to a limited specificity of the Cobas Amplicor M. tuberculosis assay.

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