Published: 12 November 2021

Authors: Prof Nazir Ahmed Ismail, FCPath, Shaheed Vally Omar, PhD, Harry Moultrie, MBChB, Zaheda Bhyat, BTech, Francesca Conradie, MBChB, M Enwerem, MBBS et al.

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 199



    Bedaquiline improves outcomes of patients with rifampicin-resistant and multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis; however, emerging resistance threatens this success. We did a cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis evaluating the epidemiology, genetic basis, and treatment outcomes associated with bedaquiline resistance, using data from South Africa (2015–19).


    Patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis starting bedaquiline-based treatment had surveillance samples submitted at baseline, month 2, and month 6, along with demographic information. Culture-positive baseline and post-baseline isolates had phenotypic resistance determined. Eligible patients were aged 12 years or older with a positive culture sample at baseline or, if the sample was invalid or negative, a sample within 30 days of the baseline sample submitted for bedaquiline drug susceptibility testing. For the longitudinal study, the first surveillance sample had to be phenotypically susceptible to bedaquiline for inclusion. Whole-genome sequencing was done on bedaquiline-resistant isolates and a subset of bedaquiline-susceptible isolates. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases tuberculosis reference laboratory, and national tuberculosis surveillance databases were matched to the Electronic Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Register. We assessed baseline resistance prevalence, mutations, transmission, cumulative resistance incidence, and odds ratios (ORs) associating risk factors for resistance with patient outcomes.


    Between Jan 1, 2015, and July 31, 2019, 8041 patients had surveillance samples submitted, of whom 2023 were included in the cross-sectional analysis and 695 in the longitudinal analysis. Baseline bedaquiline resistance prevalence was 3·8% (76 of 2023 patients; 95% CI 2·9–4·6), and it was associated with previous exposure to bedaquiline or clofazimine (OR 7·1, 95% CI 2·3–21·9) and with rifampicin-resistant or MDR tuberculosis with additional resistance to either fluoroquinolones or injectable drugs (pre-extensively-drug resistant [XDR] tuberculosis: 4·2, 1·7–10·5) or to both (XDR tuberculosis: 4·8, 2·0–11·7). Rv0678 mutations were the sole genetic basis of phenotypic resistance. Baseline resistance could be attributed to previous bedaquiline or clofazimine exposure in four (5·3%) of 76 patients and to primary transmission in six (7·9%). Odds of successful treatment outcomes were lower in patients with baseline bedaquiline resistance (0·5, 0·3–1). Resistance during treatment developed in 16 (2·3%) of 695 patients, at a median of 90 days (IQR 62–195), with 12 of these 16 having pre-XDR or XDR.


    Bedaquiline resistance was associated with poorer treatment outcomes. Rapid assessment of bedaquiline resistance, especially when patients were previously exposed to bedaquiline or clofazimine, should be prioritised at baseline or if patients remain culture-positive after 2 months of treatment. Preventing resistance by use of novel combination therapies, current treatment optimisation, and patient support is essential.


    National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa.

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