A user-friendly mathematical modelling web interface to assist local decision making in the fight against drug-resistant tuberculosis

BMC Infect Dis. 2017 May 30;17(1):374. doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2478-6.


Multidrug-resistant and rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (MDR/RR-TB) represent an important challenge for global tuberculosis (TB) control. The high rates of MDR/RR-TB observed among re-treatment cases can arise from diverse pathways: de novo amplification during initial treatment, inappropriate treatment of undiagnosed MDR/RR-TB, relapse despite appropriate treatment, or reinfection with MDR/RR-TB. Mathematical modelling allows quantification of the contribution made by these pathways in different settings. This information provides valuable insights for TB policy-makers, allowing better contextualised solutions. However, mathematical modelling outputs need to consider local data and be easily accessible to decision makers in order to improve their usefulness. We present a user-friendly web-based modelling interface, which can be used by people without technical knowledge. Users can input their own parameter values and produce estimates for their specific setting. This innovative tool provides easy access to mathematical modelling outputs that are highly relevant to national TB control programs. In future, the same approach could be applied to a variety of modelling applications, enhancing local decision making.

Keywords: Causal pathway; Decision making; Misdiagnosis; Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; Re-treatment; Tuberculosis; User Interface.

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Decision Making
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Retreatment
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Rifampin