Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Abstract Background Meta-analysis of patients with isoniazid-resistant tuberculosis (TB) given standard first-line anti-TB treatment indicated an increased risk of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) emerging (8%), compared to drug-sensitive TB (0.3%). Here we use whole genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate whether treatment of patients with preexisting isoniazid-resistant disease with first-line anti-TB therapy risks selecting for rifampicin resistance, and hence MDR-TB. Methods Patients with isoniazid-resistant pulmonary TB were recruited and followed up for 24 months. Drug susceptibility testing was performed by microscopic observation drug susceptibility assay, mycobacterial growth indicator tube, and by WGS on isolates at first presentation and in the case of re-presentation. Where MDR-TB was diagnosed, WGS was used to determine the genomic relatedness between initial and subsequent isolates. De novo emergence of MDR-TB was assumed where the genomic distance was 5 or fewer single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), whereas reinfection with a different MDR-TB strain was assumed where the distance was 10 or more SNPs. Results Two hundred thirty-nine patients with isoniazid-resistant pulmonary TB were recruited. Fourteen (14/239 [5.9%]) patients were diagnosed with a second episode of TB that was multidrug resistant. Six (6/239 [2.5%]) were identified as having evolved MDR-TB de novo and 6 as having been reinfected with a different strain. In 2 cases, the genomic distance was between 5 and 10 SNPs and therefore indeterminate. Conclusions In isoniazid-resistant TB, de novo emergence and reinfection of MDR-TB strains equally contributed to MDR development. Early diagnosis and optimal treatment of isoniazid-resistant TB are urgently needed to avert the de novo emergence of MDR-TB during treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Infectious Diseases


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





e532 - e539