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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e51121. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051121. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

Rapid diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with Truenat MTB: a near-care approach.

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Department of Microbiology, P. D. Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mahim, Mumbai, India.



Control of the global Tuberculosis (TB) burden is hindered by the lack of a simple and effective diagnostic test that can be utilized in resource-limited settings.


We evaluated the performance of Truenat MTB™, a chip-based nucleic acid amplification test in the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in clinical sputum specimens from 226 patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). The test involved sputum processing using Trueprep-MAG™ (nanoparticle-based protocol run on a battery-operated device) and real-time PCR performed on the Truelab Uno™ analyzer (handheld, battery-operated thermal cycler). Specimens were also examined for presence of MTB using smear microscopy, liquid culture and an in-house nested PCR protocol. Results were assessed in comparison to a composite reference standard (CRS) consisting of smear and culture results, clinical treatment and follow-up, and radiology findings.


Based on the CRS, 191 patients had "Clinical-TB" (Definite and Probable-TB). Of which 154 patients are already on treatment, and 37 were treatment naïve cases. Remaining 35 were confirmed "Non-TB" cases which are treatment naïve cases. The Truenat MTB test was found to have sensitivity and specificity of 91.1% (CI: 86.1-94.7) and 100% (CI: 90.0-100) respectively, in comparison to 90.58% (CI: 85.5-94.3) and 91.43% (CI: 76.9-98.2) respectively for the in-house nested PCR protocol.


This preliminary study shows that the Truenat MTB test allows detection of TB in approximately one hour and can be utilized in near-care settings to provide quick and accurate diagnosis.

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