SRL Diagnostics launches Whole Genome Sequencing Test for Tuberculosis

SRL Diagnostics

India contributes to 27% of global TB burden and it is estimated that over 35-50cr population in India have TB infection and over 26 Lakh people develop tuberculosis annually. Globally, 3.5% of new TB cases and 18% of previously treated cases had multidrug resistant / rifampicin resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB).

Ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day, SRL Diagnostics, India’s largest laboratory network today announced the launch of an advanced genomic test for Tuberculosis. The test is expected to reduce time taken to diagnose multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and offer a complete resistance profiling to 18 different TB drugs.

Speaking on the launch of the test, Mr. Anand, CEO, SRL Diagnostics said “The Whole Genome Sequencing test enables a clinician to decide the most appropriate drug regimen by providing an accurate and clinically relevant diagnosis within 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. 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% now, up from 1-2% 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.”

Success of MDR-TB treatment and survival of the patient is dependent on selection of effective drugs and duration of treatment. The Whole Genome Sequencing test involves Rapid and comprehensive genomic analysis for detection of drug resistance markers (18 drugs), strain typing, mixed infection and co-infections. The test can overcome the time and cost limitations of traditional culture based drug susceptibility testing as it can more rapidly detect all mutations known to be associated with drug resistance for any TB drug in one step.

Speaking further on the test, Dr. Rashmi Khadapkar, Senior Research Scientist, SRL Diagnostics added “This genomic test covers all drug resistance markers as the test targets complete genome (4.4 Mb) of M. tuberculosis thereby enabling resistance detection for 18 different drugs. 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 rapid and reliable option for comprehensive resistance profiling thereby improving the overall management of drug-resistant tuberculosis.”

For almost a decade, SRL has been accredited by Central TB Division (CTD) and has been actively engaged in providing TB culture under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). Through our network of Labs across the country, SRL has been offering whole gamut of testing for tuberculosis including smear/microscopy, culture, CBNAAT, Line Probe Assay, IGRA etc.

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