The 2021 WHO catalogue of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex mutations associated with drug resistance: a genotypic analysis

CRyPTIC Consortium, the Seq&Treat Consortium

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103 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Molecular diagnostics are considered the most promising route to achievement of rapid, universal drug susceptibility testing for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). We aimed to generate a WHO-endorsed catalogue of mutations to serve as a global standard for interpreting molecular information for drug resistance prediction. Methods: In this systematic analysis, we used a candidate gene approach to identify mutations associated with resistance or consistent with susceptibility for 13 WHO-endorsed antituberculosis drugs. We collected existing worldwide MTBC whole-genome sequencing data and phenotypic data from academic groups and consortia, reference laboratories, public health organisations, and published literature. We categorised phenotypes as follows: methods and critical concentrations currently endorsed by WHO (category 1); critical concentrations previously endorsed by WHO for those methods (category 2); methods or critical concentrations not currently endorsed by WHO (category 3). For each mutation, we used a contingency table of binary phenotypes and presence or absence of the mutation to compute positive predictive value, and we used Fisher's exact tests to generate odds ratios and Benjamini-Hochberg corrected p values. Mutations were graded as associated with resistance if present in at least five isolates, if the odds ratio was more than 1 with a statistically significant corrected p value, and if the lower bound of the 95% CI on the positive predictive value for phenotypic resistance was greater than 25%. A series of expert rules were applied for final confidence grading of each mutation. Findings: We analysed 41 137 MTBC isolates with phenotypic and whole-genome sequencing data from 45 countries. 38 215 MTBC isolates passed quality control steps and were included in the final analysis. 15 667 associations were computed for 13 211 unique mutations linked to one or more drugs. 1149 (7·3%) of 15 667 mutations were classified as associated with phenotypic resistance and 107 (0·7%) were deemed consistent with susceptibility. For rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol, fluoroquinolones, and streptomycin, the mutations' pooled sensitivity was more than 80%. Specificity was over 95% for all drugs except ethionamide (91·4%), moxifloxacin (91·6%) and ethambutol (93·3%). Only two resistance mutations were identified for bedaquiline, delamanid, clofazimine, and linezolid as prevalence of phenotypic resistance was low for these drugs. Interpretation: We present the first WHO-endorsed catalogue of molecular targets for MTBC drug susceptibility testing, which is intended to provide a global standard for resistance interpretation. The existence of this catalogue should encourage the implementation of molecular diagnostics by national tuberculosis programmes. Funding: Unitaid, Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e265-e273
JournalThe Lancet Microbe
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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