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Drug susceptibility testing ofM. tuberculosisis rooted in a binary susceptible/resistant paradigm. While there are considerable advantages in measuring the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of a panel of drugs for an isolate, it is necessary to measure the epidemiological cut-off values (ECOFF/ECVs) to permit comparison with qualitative data. Here we present ECOFF/ECVs for 13 anti-tuberculosis compounds, including bedaquiline and delamanid, derived from 20 637 clinical isolates collected by 14 laboratories based in 11 countries on five continents. Each isolate was incubated for 14 days on a dry 96-well broth microdilution plate and then read. Resistance to most of the drugs due to prior exposure is expected and the MIC distributions for many of the compounds are complex, and therefore aphenotypicallywild-type population could not be defined. Since a majority of samples also underwent genetic sequencing, we defined agenotypicallywild-type population and measured the MIC of the 99th percentile by direct measurement andviafitting a Gaussian using interval regression. The proposed ECOFF/ECVs were then validated by comparing with the MIC distributions of high-confidence genetic variants that confer resistance and with qualitative drug susceptibility tests obtainedviathe Mycobacterial Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) system or Microscopic-Observation Drug Susceptibility (MODS) assay. These ECOFF/ECVs will inform and encourage the more widespread adoption of broth microdilution: this is a cheap culture-based method that tests the susceptibility of 12–14 antibiotics on a single 96-well plate and so could help personalise the treatment of tuberculosis.

Original publication




Journal article


European Respiratory Journal


European Respiratory Society (ERS)

Publication Date





2200239 - 2200239