Paving way for early diagnosis of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and pre-extensively drug resistant (XDR) cases of tuberculosis, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will soon incorporate universal drug susceptibility testing (DST) for all TB patients in the city.
Universal DST is one of the most important directives of the end-TB-strategy according to the guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is a diagnostic test that checks for the TB-causing bacterium’s drug resistance pattern for all 13 anti-drugs available at present, said health experts.
To be introduced this year, universal DST will reach Mumbai phase-wise, said Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general, ministry of health and family welfare on Saturday during a workshop on TB research organised by PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.
Many global experts and researchers from National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States, who participated in the two-day-long workshop, highlighted the pressing need for using better diagnostic tools to detect MDR-TB cases in the city.
“There is good evidence about the rising number of MDR and XDR cases in Mumbai,” said Khaparde.
The data released by the BMC last month indicated there has been a 63% increase in the number of patients diagnosed of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) from 2014 to 2015.
According to Dr Daksha Shah, the BMC at present uses the universal DST only for select cases like paediatric, HIV positive and contact-tracing. “Universal DST is recommended by the national TB control programme for all MDR cases, as it is the only way to move towards individualised treatment,” she said. To access the prevalence of MDR-TB across India, a survey by the National TB Institute under the guidance of central TB division is underway. The results of the survey are expected by the end of 2016.
“We have collected samples from 5,214 patients from 120 TB units across the country where we will check the resistance pattern for all 13 anti-TB drugs,” said Khaparde.
“The results will provide reliable estimate of drug resistant TB and community-level resistance pattern of first and second-line drugs.”