Mycobactericidal effects of different regimens measured by molecular bacterial load assay among people treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Tanzania

Peter M. Mbelele, Emmanuel A. Mpolya, Elingarami Sauli, Bariki Mtafya, Nyanda E. Ntinginya, Kennedy K. Addo, Katharina Kreppel, Sayoki Mfinanga, Patrick P. J. Phillips, Stephen H. Gillespie, Scott K. Heysell, Wilber Sabiiti, Stellah G. Mpagama

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Rifampin or multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (RR/MDR-TB) treatment has largely transitioned to regimens free of the injectable aminoglycoside component, despite the drug class' purported bactericidal activity early in treatment. We tested whether Mycobacterium tuberculosis killing rates measured by tuberculosis molecular bacterial load assay (TB-MBLA) in sputa correlate with composition of the RR/MDRTB regimen. Serial sputa were collected from patients with RR/MDR- and drug-sensitive TB at days 0, 3, 7, and 14, and then monthly for 4 months of anti-TB treatment. TB-MBLA was used to quantify viable M. tuberculosis 16S rRNA in sputum for estimation of colony forming units per ml (eCFU/ml). M. tuberculosis killing rates were compared among regimens using nonlinear-mixed-effects modeling of repeated measures. Thirty-seven patients produced 296 serial sputa and received treatment as follows: 13 patients received an injectable bedaquiline-free reference regimen, 9 received an injectable bedaquiline-containing regimen, 8 received an all-oral bedaquiline-based regimen, and 7 patients were treated for drug-sensitive TB with conventional rifampin/isoniazid/pyrazinamide/ethambutol (RHZE). Compared to the adjusted M. tuberculosis killing of -0.17 (95% confidence interval [CI] -0.23 to -0.12) for the injectable bedaquiline-free reference regimen, the killing rates were -0.62 (95% CI -1.05 to -020) log,, eCFU/ml for the injectable bedaquiline-containing regimen (P=0.019), -0.35 (95% CI -0.65 to -0.13) log(10) eCFU/ml for the all-oral bedaquiline-based regimen (P=0.054), and -029 (95% CI -0.78 to -0.22) log(10) eCFU/ml for the RHZE regimen (P=0332). Thus, M. tuberculosis killing rates from sputa were higher among patients who received bedaquiline but were further improved with the addition of an injectable aminoglycoside.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02927-20
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number4
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Kibong'oto
  • Tanzania
  • MDR-TB treatment regimens
  • molecular bacterial load assay
  • multidrug-resistant TB
  • mycobactericidal effects
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • all-oral bedaquiline regimen
  • injectable aminoglycoside regimen


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