Rapid-bTB: a novel lateral flow test able to differentiate Mycobacterium bovis from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum

Linda Stewart, Irene Grant, Melissa Sander, Franklyn Egbe

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: A novel lateral flow, immunochromatographic assay (LFD) specific for Mycobacterium bovis, the cause of bovine tuberculosis and zoonotic TB, was recently developed at Queen’s University Belfast. The LFD detects whole M. bovis cells, in contrast to other commercially available LFD tests (BD MGITTM TBc ID, SD Bioline TB Ag MPT 64, Capilia TB-Neo kit) which detect MPT64 antigen secreted during growth. The new LFD test has been evaluated in the veterinary context, and its specificity for M. bovis in the broadest sense (i.e. subsp. bovis, subsp. caprae and BCG) and sensitivity to detect M. bovis in positive MGIT™ liquid cultures was demonstrated comprehensively.
Methods: Preliminary work was carried out by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast to optimise sputum sample preparation, estimate the limit of detection (LOD) of the LFD with M. bovis-spiked sputum samples, and check LFD specificity by testing a broad range of non-tuberculous Mycobacterium spp. (NTM) and other bacterial genera commonly encountered in sputum samples (Haemophilus, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus). In the Cameroon laboratory direct detection of M. bovis in human sputa was attempted, and 50 positive sputum MGIT™ cultures and 33 cultures of various Mycobacterium spp. originally isolated from human sputa were tested.
Results: Sputum sample preparation consisted of digestion with 1% NALC for 30 min, centrifugation at 3000g for 20 min, PBS wash, centrifugation again, and pellet resuspended in KPL blocking buffer before 100 µl was applied to the LFD. The LOD of the LFD applied to M. bovis-spiked sputum was estimated to be 104 CFU/ml. A small number of confirmed Ziehl-Neelsen ‘3+’ M. bovis positive sputum samples were tested directly but no positive LFD results were obtained. All of the sputum MGIT™ cultures and mycobacterial cultures (including M. tuberculosis, M. africanum, M. bovis, M. intracellulare, M. scrofulaceum, M. fortuitum, M. peregrinum, M. interjectum) tested LFD negative when read after 15 min except for the M. bovis cultures, thereby confirming specificity of LFD for M. bovis in the clinical microbiology context.
Conclusions: Results indicate that the ‘Rapid-bTB’ LFD is a very specific test, able to differentiate M. bovis from M. tuberculosis, M. africanum, and a range of NTM isolated from human sputa in MGITTM liquid cultures. However, the LFD lacks sufficient sensitivity to be applied earlier in the diagnostic process to directly test human sputa.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Event46th Union World Conference on Lung Health - Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 02 Dec 201506 Dec 2015


Conference46th Union World Conference on Lung Health
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


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