Drug-resistant tuberculosis: a persistent global health concern

Maha Farhat, Helen Cox, Marwan Ghanem, Claudia M. Denkinger, Camilla Rodrigues, Mirna S. Abd El Aziz, Handaa Enkh-Amgalan, Debrah Vambe, Cesar Ugarte-Gil, Jennifer Furin, Madhukar Pai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is estimated to cause 13% of all antimicrobial resistance-attributable deaths worldwide and is driven by both ongoing resistance acquisition and person-to-person transmission. Poor outcomes are exacerbated by late diagnosis and inadequate access to effective treatment. Advances in rapid molecular testing have recently improved the diagnosis of TB and drug resistance. Next-generation sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has increased our understanding of genetic resistance mechanisms and can now detect mutations associated with resistance phenotypes. All-oral, shorter drug regimens that can achieve high cure rates of drug-resistant TB within 6–9 months are now available and recommended but have yet to be scaled to global clinical use. Promising regimens for the prevention of drug-resistant TB among high-risk contacts are supported by early clinical trial data but final results are pending. A person-centred approach is crucial in managing drug-resistant TB to reduce the risk of poor treatment outcomes, side effects, stigma and mental health burden associated with the diagnosis. In this Review, we describe current surveillance of drug-resistant TB and the causes, risk factors and determinants of drug resistance as well as the stigma and mental health considerations associated with it. We discuss recent advances in diagnostics and drug-susceptibility testing and outline the progress in developing better treatment and preventive therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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