Drivers and trajectories of resistance to new first-line drug regimens for tuberculosis

Sourya Shrestha, Gwenan M. Knight, Mariam Fofana, Ted Cohen, Richard G. White, Frank Cobelens, David W. Dowdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background. New first-line drug regimens for treatment of tuberculosis (TB) are in clinical trials: emergence of resistance is a key concern. Because population-level data on resistance cannot be collected in advance, epidemiological models are important tools for understanding the drivers and dynamics of resistance before novel drug regimens are launched. Methods. We developed a transmission model of TB after launch of a new drug regimen, defining drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) as resistance to the new regimen. The model is characterized by (1) the probability of acquiring resistance during treatment, (2) the transmission fitness of DR-TB relative to drug-susceptible TB (DS-TB), and (3) the probability of treatment success for DR-TB versus DS-TB. We evaluate the effect of each factor on future DR-TB prevalence, defined as the proportion of incident TB that is drug-resistant. Results. Probability of acquired resistance was the strongest predictor of the DR-TB proportion in the first 5 years after the launch of a new drug regimen. Over a longer term, however, the DR-TB proportion was driven by the resistant population's transmission fitness and treatment success rates. Regardless of uncertainty in acquisition probability and transmission fitness, high levels (>10%) of drug resistance were unlikely to emerge within 50 years if, among all cases of TB that were detected, 85% of those with DR-TB could be appropriately diagnosed as such and then successfully treated. Conclusions. Short-term surveillance cannot predict long-term drug resistance trends after launch of novel firstline TB regimens. Ensuring high treatment success of drug-resistant TB through early diagnosis and appropriate second-line therapy can mitigate many epidemiological uncertainties and may substantially slow the emergence of drug-resistant TB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • TB drug regimens
  • TB drug resistance
  • TB mathematical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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