Updating the WHO target product profile for next-generation Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing


There were approximately 10 million tuberculosis (TB) cases in 2020, of which 500,000 were drug-resistant. Only one third of drug-resistant TB cases were diagnosed and enrolled on appropriate treatment, an issue partly driven by a lack of rapid, accurate drug-susceptibility testing (DST) tools deployable in peripheral settings. In 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) published target product profiles (TPPs) which detailed minimal and optimal criteria to address high-priority TB diagnostic needs, including DST. Since then, the TB community’s needs have evolved; new treatment regimens, changes in TB definitions, further emergence of drug resistance, technological advances, and changing end-users requirements have necessitated an update. The DST TPP’s revision was therefore undertaken by WHO with the Stop TB Partnership New Diagnostics Working Group. We describe the process of updating the TPP for next-generation TB DST for use at peripheral centres, highlight key updates, and discuss guidance regarding technical and operational specifications.