Original Research

Development of dried tube specimens for Xpert MTB/RIF proficiency testing

Kyle DeGruy, Katherine Klein, Zilma Rey, Patricia Hall, Andrea Kim, Heather Alexander
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1166 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v9i1.1166 | © 2020 Kyle DeGruy, Katherine Klein, Zilma Rey, Patricia Hall, Andrea Kim, Heather Alexander | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 2020 | Published: 29 September 2020

About the author(s)

Kyle DeGruy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global HIV and TB, International Laboratory Branch, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Katherine Klein, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of TB Elimination, Laboratory Branch, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Zilma Rey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global HIV and TB, International Laboratory Branch, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Patricia Hall, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global HIV and TB, International Laboratory Branch, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Andrea Kim, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global HIV and TB, International Laboratory Branch, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Heather Alexander, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global HIV and TB, International Laboratory Branch, Atlanta, Georgia, United States


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Abstract

Background: Proficiency testing (PT) is part of a comprehensive quality assurance programme, which is critical to ensuring patients receive accurate and reliable diagnostic testing. Implementation of the Cepheid Xpert® MTB/RIF assay to aid in the diagnosis of tuberculosis has expanded rapidly in recent years; however, PT material for Xpert MTB/RIF is not readily available in many resource-limited settings.

Objective: To develop an accurate and precise PT material based on the dried tube specimen (DTS) method, using supplies and reagents available in most tuberculosis culture laboratories.

Methods: Dried tube specimens were produced at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2013 to 2015 by inactivating liquid cultures of well-characterised mycobacterial strains. Ten percent of DTS produced were tested with Xpert MTB/RIF and evaluated for accuracy and precision.

Results: Validation testing across eight rounds of PT demonstrated that DTS are highly accurate, achieving an average of 96.8% concordance with the Xpert MTB/RIF results from the original mycobacterial strains. Dried tube specimen testing was also precise, with cycle threshold standard deviations below two cycles when inherent test cartridge variability was low.

Conclusion: Dried tube specimens can be produced using equipment already present in tuberculosis culture laboratories, making Xpert MTB/RIF PT scale-up more feasible in resource-limited settings. Use of DTS may fill the gap in tuberculosis laboratory access to external quality assessment, which is an essential component of a comprehensive continuous quality improvement programme.


Keywords

external quality assessment; EQA; Xpert MTB/RIF; proficiency testing; dried tube specimen; DTS

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