Evolution and transmission of antibiotic resistance is driven by Beijing lineage Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Vietnam

A previous investigation has elucidated the landscape of Mtb genomic diversity and transmission dynamics in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, we expand the scope of this survey by adding a substantial number of additional genomes (total sample size: 2,542) and phenotypic drug susceptibility data for the majority of isolates. We aim to explore the prevalence and evolutionary dynamics of drug resistance and our ability to predict drug resistance from sequencing data. Among isolates tested phenotypically against first-line drugs, we observed high rates of streptomycin [STR, 37.7% (N = 573/1,520)] and isoniazid resistance [INH, 25.7% (N = 459/1,786)] and lower rates of resistance to rifampicin [RIF, 4.9% (N = 87/1,786)] and ethambutol [EMB, 4.2% (N = 75/1,785)]. Relative to global benchmarks, resistance to STR and INH was predicted accurately when applying the TB-Profiler algorithm to whole genome sequencing data (sensitivities of 0.81 and 0.87, respectively), while resistance to RIF and EMB was predicted relatively poorly (sensitivities of 0.70 and 0.44, respectively). Exploring the evolution of drug resistance revealed the main phylogenetic lineages to display differing dynamics and tendencies to evolve resistance via mutations in certain genes. The Beijing sublineage L2.2.1 was found to acquire de novo resistance mutations more frequently than isolates from other lineages and to suffer no apparent fitness cost acting to impede the transmission of resistance. Mutations conferring resistance to INH and STR arose earlier, on average, than those conferring resistance to RIF and are now more widespread across the phylogeny. The high prevalence of “background” INH resistance, combined with high rates of RIF mono-resistance (20.7%, N = 18/87), suggests that rapid assays for INH resistance will be valuable in this setting. These tests will allow the detection of INH mono-resistance and will allow multi-drug-resistant isolates to be distinguished from isolates with RIF mono-resistance.

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