NTRL, BD equip TB staff on Liquid Culture and DST using MGIT
BD Trainer Nemesia Gracia Ferrer overseeing the aliquoting of drugs for drug susceptibility testing

The National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory (NTRL) Learning and Development Section (LDS), in collaboration with Becton Dickinson (BD), capacitated staff from the TB Laboratory Network on liquid culture and Drug Susceptibility Testing (DST) using Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) 960 last October 17 to 21, 2022 at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

TB Laboratory Network staff from identified MGIT laboratories –  Batangas Medical Center, Western Visayas Medical Center, and Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. – Quezon Institute completed the five-day training course which equipped them with the skills necessary in performing liquid TB culture and DST correctly and safely using the MGIT technology.

The MGIT technology, which BD developed, is a fully automated system able to grow and detect mycobacteria from clinical specimens. MGIT is a liquid culture system known to yield increased sensitivity and generate faster TB identification and DST results compared to solid TB culture.

BD Trainer Nemesia Gracia S. Ferrer further elaborated on the functions of the technology and highlighted that it requires minimal user interaction and handling.

However, despite its many advantages compared to solid TB culture, contamination rate and biosafety risks are identified to be higher for liquid TB culture. Thus, proper biosafety techniques and practices were underscored throughout the training to lessen this risk.

NTRL Head Dr. Ramon P. Basilio emphasized that MGIT training is essential for the expansion of the National TB Control Program (NTP). Dr. Basilio also shared that NTRL is moving towards liquid culture for TB treatment monitoring. In fact, liquid TB culture is currently being used in NTRL as baseline test for Drug Resistant TB patients.

“We are all aware of the distinct advantages of MGIT in terms of treatment monitoring. The diagnosis and identification of TB and its drug resistance is critical to administer the necessary treatment to patients,” said Dr. Basilio.     

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office