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Same-day diagnostic and surveillance data for tuberculosis via whole genome sequencing of direct respiratory samples.

By Antonina A Votintseva, Phelim Bradley, Louise Pankhurst, Carlos del Ojo Elias, Matthew Loose, Kayzad Nilgiriwala, Anirvan Chatterjee, E Grace Smith, Nicholas Sanderson, Timothy M Walker, Marcus R Morgan, David H Wyllie, A Sarah Walker, Tim E A Peto, Derrick W Crook, Zamin Iqbal

Posted 19 Dec 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/094789 (published DOI: 10.1128/JCM.02483-16)

Routine full characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) is culture-based, taking many weeks. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) can generate antibiotic susceptibility profiles to inform treatment, augmented with strain information for global surveillance; such data could be transformative if provided at or near point of care. We demonstrate a low-cost DNA extraction method for TB WGS direct from patient samples. We initially evaluated the method using the Illumina MiSeq sequencer (40 smear-positive respiratory samples, obtained after routine clinical testing, and 27 matched liquid cultures). M. tuberculosis was identified in all 39 samples from which DNA was successfully extracted. Sufficient data for antibiotic susceptibility prediction was obtained from 24 (62%) samples; all results were concordant with reference laboratory phenotypes. Phylogenetic placement was concordant between direct and cultured samples. Using an Illumina MiSeq/MiniSeq the workflow from patient sample to results can be completed in 44/16 hours at a cost of 96/198 GBP per sample. We then employed a non-specific PCR-based library preparation method for sequencing on an Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION sequencer. We applied this to cultured Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain (BCG), and to combined culture-negative sputum DNA and BCG DNA. For the latest flowcell, the estimated turnaround time from patient to identification of BCG was 6 hours, with full susceptibility and surveillance results 2 hours later. Antibiotic susceptibility predictions were fully concordant. A critical advantage of the MinION is the ability to continue sequencing until sufficient coverage is obtained, providing a potential solution to the problem of variable amounts of M. tuberculosis in direct samples.

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