Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 28;18(9):4685. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094685.
Uzbekistan has a large burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). To deal with this public health threat, the National TB Program introduced rapid molecular diagnostic tests such as Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) and line probe assays (LPAs) for first-line and second-line drugs. We documented the scale-up of Xpert and LPAs from 2012-2019 and assessed whether this led to an increase in patients with laboratory-confirmed multidrug-resistant/rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). This was a descriptive study using secondary program data. The numbers of GeneXpert instruments cumulatively increased from six to sixty-seven, resulting in annual assays increasing from 5574 to 107,330. A broader use of the technology resulted in a lower proportion of tests detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis with half of the positive results showing rifampicin resistance. LPA instruments cumulatively increased from two to thirteen; the annual first-line assays for MDR-TB increased from 2582 to 6607 while second-line assays increased from 1435 in 2016 to 6815 in 2019 with about one quarter to one third of diagnosed patients showing second-line drug resistance. Patient numbers with laboratory-confirmed MDR-TB remained stable (from 1728 to 2060) but there was a large increase in patients with laboratory-confirmed XDR-TB (from 31 to 696). Programmatic implications and ways forward are discussed.