Sources of Multidrug Resistance in Patients With Previous Isoniazid-Resistant Tuberculosis Identified Using Whole Genome Sequencing: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

Meta-analysis of patients with isoniazid-resistant tuberculosis (TB) given standard first-line anti-TB treatment indicated an increased risk of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) emerging (8%), compared to drug-sensitive TB (0.3%). Here we use whole genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate whether treatment of patients with pre-existing isoniazid-resistant disease with first-line anti-TB therapy risks selecting for rifampicin resistance, and hence MDR-TB.

Patients with isoniazid-resistant pulmonary TB were recruited and followed up for 24 months. Drug susceptibility testing was performed by microscopic observation drug susceptibility assay, mycobacterial growth indicator tube, and by WGS on isolates at first presentation and in the case of re-presentation. Where MDR-TB was diagnosed, WGS was used to determine the genomic relatedness between initial and subsequent isolates. De novo emergence of MDR-TB was assumed where the genomic distance was 5 or fewer single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), whereas reinfection with a different MDR-TB strain was assumed where the distance was 10 or more SNPs.

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