OMNIgene.SPUTUM suppresses contaminants whilst maintaining Mycobacterium tuberculosis viability and obviates cold-chain transport

Khalide Azam, Nureisha Cadir, Carla Madeira, Stephen H. Gillespie, Wilber Sabiiti

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Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics are centralised, requiring long-distance transportation of specimens in most resource-limited settings. We evaluated the ability of OMNIgene.SPUTUM (OM-S) to obviate cold-chain transport of TB specimens.

A two-arm (same-day and after 5 days sample processing) study was conducted to assess contamination rates and Mycobacterium tuberculosis viability in OM-S-treated samples against the standard decontamination procedure (SDP) in Mozambique, using Lowenstein Jensen (LJ) and mycobacterial growth indicator tube (MGIT) culture and molecular bacterial load assay.

270 specimens were processed using OM-S and SDP in same-day and 5-day arms. Contamination was lower in OM-S-treated than SDP-treated cultures: 12% versus 15% and 2% versus 27% in the same-day and 5-day arms, respectively. M. tuberculosis recovery in OM-S-treated LJ cultures was 10% and 56% higher in the same-day and 5-day arms, respectively, than SDP-treated cultures, but lower in MGIT (52% and 28% lower in the same-day and 5-day arms, respectively). M. tuberculosis viable count was 1log estimated CFU·mL−1 lower in 5-day OM-S-treated sputa. OM-S was more effective at liquefying sputum with a shorter sample processing time: 22 min for culture.

OM-S is simple to use and has demonstrated a high potency to suppress contaminants, maintenance of viability at ambient temperatures and higher M. tuberculosis recovery, particularly in the solid LJ cultures. Optimisation of OM-S to achieve higher MGIT culture positivity and shorter time to result will increase its application and utility in the clinical management of TB.
Original languageEnglish
Article number00074-2017
Number of pages8
JournalERJ Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2018


  • Diagnostic procedures
  • Tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis and mycobacterial infections


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