A culture confirmation test for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains that uses a lateral-flow immunochromatographic assay to detect the MPB64 antigen, the MGIT TBc identification (TBc ID) test, has been developed. We evaluated the performance of the TBc ID test in the detection of the M. tuberculosis complex in 222 primary-positive liquid cultures. We compared these results to those of nucleic acid-based identification and conventional biochemical tests. The validity of the TBc ID test was determined, and all of the nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) and Nocardia species tested were found to be negative. The detection limit of the TBc ID test was 5 × 105 CFU/ml, and for IS6110 real-time PCR it was 5 CFU/ml. All of the M. tuberculosis and M. africanum cultures were found to be positive, while M. bovis and M. bovis BCG cultures were negative. With the exception of 1 contaminated culture, the 221 culture-positive isolates contained 171 (77.5%) M. tuberculosis isolates, 39 (17.6%) NTM species, and 11 (5.0%) unidentified species. Two culture-positive isolates harbored a 63-bp deletion at position 196 of the mpb64 gene. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values, and negative predictive values of the TBc ID test were 98.8, 100, 100, and 95.1%, respectively. Furthermore, the approximate turnaround time for real-time PCR was 4 h (including buffer and sample preparation), while for the TBc ID test it was less than 1 h. We suggest an algorithm for the primary identification of M. tuberculosis in liquid culture using the TBc ID test as an alternative to conventional subculture followed by identification using biochemical methods.
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