2. What is the Global Project on Anti-tuberculosis Drug Resistance Surveillance?
A network of supra-national laboratories supports the national laboratory
Source: Pierre Virot
Keeping track of the patterns of drug-resistant
tuberculosis throughout the
world is difficult. Firstly, the data available are limited
because some countries, particularly countries with a high TB
burden, do not have enough laboratories to conduct tests, or
systems to keep track of TB cases. Secondly, the quality of drug
susceptibility tests is not
consistent and needs to be better ensured, particularly for
second-line anti-tuberculosis drugs.
Global Project on Anti-tuberculosis Drug Resistance Surveillance
was set up in 1994 by the
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
and other partners. Its aims are to estimate the levels of
resistance to anti-TB drugs throughout the world and see how
these change with time, to develop plans to prevent and tackle
drug resistance and to evaluate the progress of these plans.
The project assembles a network of 26
“supra-national reference laboratories”
(SRLN) that give practical and technical support to over 150
national laboratories worldwide. The supra-national laboratories
are the backbone for surveillance and since 1994, the Global
Project has collected data on resistance to
first-line anti-TB drugs
from areas representing almost half of the world’s TB cases. The
main priorities for the network are to cope with the demand for
laboratory services and to obtain regular funding.
New methods have been developed that can diagnose
MDR-TB quickly, and although
they have not yet been fully
validated, some countries
are already using them to identify cases of MDR-TB. If
successful, these new methods would be extremely helpful to
gather more information on drug-resistance. At the moment there
are no quick methods that can detect resistance to
This text is a summary of: WHO,
Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance in the World,
Fourth Global Report (2008), Chapter 4: Discussion, Overview (p.
78), Chapter 4: Discussion, SRLN (p. 87-89)