Blog | Monday, February 16, 2009

Database may speed diagnosis of drug-resistant TB

A new publicly available Web database allows quick searches of specific mutations associated with drug-resistant tuberculosis. The tool includes the most common mutations found for the major groups of anti-TB drugs, something researchers hope will speed development of new sequence-based diagnostic tools and avoid treatment delays "during which patients receive suboptimal therapy that may lead to development of additional resistance and further spread of drug-resistant TB," according to researchers who developed the tool.

The database is easy to use, just click on a drug class, such as aminoglycosides or ethambutol, select a gene associated with resistance, and a histogram pops up displaying the mutations and corresponding confidence levels.

The research behind the database is explained in a study by led by Harvard epidemiologists published in the current issue of PLoS Medicine.