The Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra assay has recently been launched to improve the detection of smear negative disease. This retrospective study compares the sensitivity of Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra with that of Xpert MTB/RIF tests and IS6110 real-time PCR in sputum. Diagnostic performance of three molecular tests was evaluated using 48 culture-positive clinical respiratory specimens diluted to obtain paucibacillary sputum specimens. Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra had the highest sensitivity of 100% compared to 42% (P < 0.001) for Xpert MTB/RIF and 64.5% (P = 0.02) for IS6110-PCR. All "very low" or "low" positive specimens using Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra were tested positive using IS6110-PCR, but 35.4% were found negative using Xpert MTB/RIF. Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra is more sensitive than the two other tests for sputum with a low bacterial load. Adding detection of IS6110 and IS1081 to rpoB, is a key evolution of the assay and improves the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis' DNA in paucibacillary sputum.
Keywords: Chelex®; IS6110-PCR; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Paucibacillary sputum; Xpert MTB/RIF; Xpert MTB/RIF ultra.
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