Development of a multiplex real-time pcr assay for mycobacterium bovis bcg and validation in a clinical laboratory

Shannon C. Duffy, Manigandan Venkatesan, Shubhada Chothe, Indira Poojary, Valsan Philip Verghese, Vivek Kapur, Marcel A. Behr, Joy Sarojini Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a live attenuated vaccine which can result in local or disseminated infection, most commonly in immunocompromised individuals. Differentiation of BCG from other members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) is required to diagnose BCG disease, which requires specific management. Current methods for BCG diagnosis are based on mycobacterial culture and conventional PCR; the former is time-consuming and the latter often unavailable. Further, there are reports that certain BCG strains may be associated with a higher rate of adverse events. This study describes the development of a two-step multiplex real-time PCR assay which uses single nucleotide polymorphisms to detect BCG and identify early or late BCG strains. The assay has a limit of detection of 1 pg BCG boiled lysate DNA and was shown to detect BCG in both pure cultures and experimentally infected tissue. Its performance was assessed on 19 suspected BCG clinical isolates at Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, taken from January 2018 to August 2020. Of these 19 isolates, 10 were identified as BCG (6 early and 4 late strains), and 9 were identified as other MTBC members. Taken together, the results demonstrate the ability of this assay to identify and characterize BCG disease from cultures and infected tissue. The capacity to identify BCG may improve patient management, and the ability to discriminate between BCG strains may enable BCG vaccine pharmacovigilance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01098-21
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a multiplex real-time pcr assay for mycobacterium bovis bcg and validation in a clinical laboratory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this