Bridging the TB data gap: in silico extraction of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis diagnostic test results from whole genome sequence data.


Background: Mycobacterium tuberculosis rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are widely employed in routine laboratories and national surveys for detection of rifampicin-resistant (RR)-TB. However, as next-generation sequencing technologies have become more commonplace in research and surveillance programs, RDTs are being increasingly complemented by whole genome sequencing (WGS). While comparison between RDTs is difficult, all RDT results can be derived from WGS data. This can facilitate continuous analysis of RR-TB burden regardless of the data generation technology employed. By converting WGS to RDT results, we enable comparison of data with different formats and sources particularly for low- and middle-income high TB-burden countries that employ different diagnostic algorithms for drug resistance surveys. This allows national TB control programs (NTPs) and epidemiologists to utilize all available data in the setting for improved RR-TB surveillance. Methods: We developed the Python-based MycTB Genome to Test (MTBGT) tool that transforms WGS-derived data into laboratory-validated results of the primary RDTs-Xpert MTB/RIF, XpertMTB/RIF Ultra, GenoType MDRTBplus v2.0, and GenoscholarNTM+MDRTB II. The tool was validated through RDT results of