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ObjectivesThis study aimed to develop and evaluate a novel air-dried high-resolution melt (HRM) assay to detect eight major extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) (blaSHV and blaCTX-M groups 1 and 9) and carbapenemase (blaNDM, blaIMP, blaKPC, blaVIM and blaOXA-48-like) genes that confer resistance to cephalosporins and carbapenems.MethodsThe assay was evaluated using 439 DNA samples extracted from bacterial isolates from Nepal, Malawi and the UK and 390 clinical isolates from Nepal with known antimicrobial susceptibility. Assay reproducibility was evaluated across five different real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) instruments [Rotor-Gene® Q, QuantStudioTM 5, CFX96, LightCycler® 480 and Magnetic Induction Cycler (Mic)]. Assay stability was also assessed under different storage temperatures (6.2 ± 0.9°C, 20.4 ± 0.7°C and 29.7 ± 1.4°C) at six time points over 8 months.ResultsThe sensitivity and specificity (with 95% confidence intervals) for detecting ESBL and carbapenemase genes was 94.7% (92.5-96.5%) and 99.2% (98.8-99.5%) compared with the reference gel-based PCR and sequencing and 98.3% (97.0-99.3%) and 98.5% (98.0-98.9%) compared with the original HRM wet PCR mix format. Overall agreement was 91.1% (90.0-92.9%) when predicting phenotypic resistance to cefotaxime and meropenem among Enterobacteriaceae isolates. We observed almost perfect inter-machine reproducibility of the air-dried HRM assay, and no loss of sensitivity occurred under all storage conditions and time points.ConclusionWe present a ready-to-use air-dried HRM PCR assay that offers an easy, thermostable, fast and accurate tool for the detection of ESBL and carbapenemase genes in DNA samples to improve antimicrobial resistance detection.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of global antimicrobial resistance

Publication Date





123 - 131


Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.