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Network for the application of sequencing technologies for the fight against resistant tuberculosis in high incidence settings

Short description of project

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB) represent an increasing threat for global tuberculosis (TB) control. Successful control of M/XDR-TB requires efficient drug susceptibility testing (DST) as basis for designing effective therapy regimens. However, e.g. due to inadequate infrastructure, DST is often missing or delayed in countries with medium or high TB incidence, leading to empirical treatment regimens with low cure rates. New molecular methods like Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) or targeting sequencing can provide accurate and rapid drug susceptibility results of clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains. This project is designed to support two Eastern European (Kyrgyzstan, Moldova) and two Southern Africa countries (Namibia, Mozambique) with high TB incidence in establishing sequencing technologies as diagnostic tools for rapid prediction of drug resistance. Based on the rapid resistance prediction results, M/XDR-TB patients can be treated earlier with effective regimens, leading to higher cure rates as well as limiting the risk of further resistance development and M/XDR-TB transmission.

Aims of project

The overall aim of this project is to establish a sustainable competence network in two Eastern European countries (Kyrgyzstan, Moldova) and two countries of Southern Africa (Namibia, Mozambique) to promote the use of sequencing technology (in part NGS) for rapid TB resistance diagnostics and surveillance.

Specific goals:

  • Technology transfer by implementation of sequencing technologies in partner countries
  • Capacity building by different trainings: train the trainers, training laboratory experts, training in data analysis and interpretation, establishment of competence network
  • Ensuring sustainability by integrating sequencing technology into national TB strategy


Supporting institution

Research Center Borstel

Partner countries

Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mozambique and Namibia

Partner institutions

  • The National Tuberculosis Center of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 
  • Institute of Phthisiopneumology „Chiril Draganiuc”, Chisinau, Moldova
  • The National Institute of Health, Maputo, Mozambique
  • University of Namibia, School of Medicine, Windhoek, Namibia
  • Research Center Borstel, Germany
  • Institute of Microbiology and Laboratory Medicine, Gauting, Germany
  • Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy