SRL Diagnostics  launches an advanced tuberculosis genomic test

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SRL Diagnostics, India’s largest laboratory network, has announced the launch of an advanced tuberculosis genomic test ahead of World Tuberculosis Day (TB). The test is expected to shorten the time it takes to diagnose multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and provide comprehensive resistance profiling for 18 different anti-tuberculosis medications.

“The Whole Genome Sequencing test enables a clinician to decide the most appropriate drug regimen by providing an accurate and clinically relevant diagnosis within a few days. In addition to its use in accurate detection of drug resistance, the test has the potential to revolutionize epidemiology studies and disease surveillance.”

Anand, CEO, SRL Diagnostics

Anand added, ‘The pandemic has reversed years of progress made in tuberculosis control not just in India but across the globe. The absolute percentage of those succumbing to the disease has risen to 5-7 per cent now, up from 1-2 per cent during pre-Covid times. Relevant use of advanced and rapid diagnostics technology can help accurate tuberculosis diagnosis and effective control. This is SRL’s step forward towards decisively offering truly personalised care to our patients.’

India is responsible for 27% of the global TB burden. In India, it is estimated that about Rs. 35-50 crore individuals are infected with tuberculosis, with over 26 lakh people developing tuberculosis each year. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) / rifampicin-resistant TB  was found in 3.5% of new TB cases and 18% of previously treated patients worldwide.

The success of MDR-TB treatment and the patient’s survival are based on the selection of effective medications and the length of treatment. The whole genome sequencing test includes a rapid and thorough genomic analysis for treatment resistance markers, strain typing, mixed infection, and co-infections. The test can address the time and cost constraints of standard culture-based drug susceptibility testing by detecting all mutations linked to treatment resistance for any TB medication in a single step.

“This genomic test covers all drug resistance markers as the test targets the complete genome (4.4 Mb) of M. tuberculosis thereby enabling resistance detection for 18 different drugs.”

Dr. Rashmi Khadapkar, Senior Research Scientist, SRL Diagnostics

She added, ‘It is also designed to detect mixed infections, co-infections and hetero-resistant isolates. As per published studies, whole genome sequencing test results for first-line drugs correlates well with phenotypic methods. Due to poor drug solubility and other technical issues, culture-based drug susceptibility testing is challenging for several drugs such as pyrazinamide, ethionamide, and ethambutol.  TB WGS provides a rapid and reliable option for comprehensive resistance profiling thereby improving the overall management of drug-resistant tuberculosis.’

SRL has been accredited by the Central Tuberculosis Division (CTD) for almost a decade and has been actively involved in delivering TB culture under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).

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