TB Laboratory

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  • The JCRC TB laboratory is a Collaborative Tuberculosis facility operated jointly with the Uganda-Case Western Reserve University Research Collaboration
  • It is a model clinical/research laboratory offering top level microbiology support for tuberculosis clinical trials conducted by researchers from Uganda, the United States and Europe among others.

Key areas of operation 

  • Clinical trials
  • Translational research
  • Basic research
  • Routine clinical mycobaceriological procedures for diagnosis and monitoring of TB treatment

Services offered

The laboratory employs a wide range of techniques in TB detection, first line and second line anti-TB drugs susceptibility testing. These include the following.

  • Enhanced  detection of M. tuberculosis using both solid and liquid culture platforms
  • Determination of drug resistance patterns using both liquid and solid culture techniques.  The laboratory offers both second and second line anti-TB drug susceptibility testing.
  • Rapid molecular detection of M. tuberculosis and drug resistance, including multi-drug resistant TB

Major infrastructure and equipment

The laboratory is well equipped with among others, the following key facilities and equipment.

  • A fully functional brand new Bio-safety Level III (BSL-3) facility
  • Two BACTEC MGIT 960 instruments with a capacity to test over 1,900 cultures at a time.
  • One BACTEC 9120 blood culture instrument with a 120 testing capacity 
  • Three Class II, Type A Bio-safety cabinets with continuous power supply back-up
  • High capacity incubation at both ambient and CO2 conditions 
  • A Roche LightCycler 480 for Real-Time PCR assays
  • A Cepheid Genexpert instrument for rapid detection of TB and rifampicin resistance
  • HAIN Line probe assay
  • The laboratory also has large refrigeration and freezer capacity for long-term storage of reagents, specimens and isolates.


  • To date, the laboratory has successfully provided TB diagnostics and research services for over 18 years. Over 80 study protocols and projects have successfully been implemented and concluded.
  • Currently, the laboratory is implementing a TBTC Study 31 protocol. This is an open-label, controlled phase 3 clinical trial for rifapentine-contsaining treatment shortening regimens for pulmonary tuberculosis.

Quality Assurance

The laboratory is enrolled on the following External Quality Assessment (EQA) programs

  1. INSTAND (Spring and Fall) - the German Supranational Lab for EQA services for
    1. Smear microscopy,
    2. Culture, Isolation and Identification mycobacteria
    3. Drug Susceptibility Test.
  2. College of American Pathologists –CAP(Spring and Fall) for
    1. Smear microscopy,
    2. Culture, Isolation and Identification mycobacteria
    3. Drug Susceptibility testing
  3. WHO Supranational TB lab, Wandegeya (Spring):
    1. Smear Microscopy
    2. Drug Susceptibility testing
    3. GeneXpert
  4. Smart Spot Quality
  1. GeneXpert
  2. HAIN MDRPlus, version 2


The JCRC TB laboratory is a DAIDS approved laboratory and is monitored by SMILE 

The laboratory is preparing for a CAP inspection for accreditation, scheduled for June 2017


  • The laboratory has highly trained and experienced graduate level technologists in addition to an administrative assistant/data entry clerk.
  • The laboratory is closely supervised and monitored by a team of experienced professors, scholars and practicing mycobacteriologists from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (USA), Case Western Reserve University (USA), Makerere University (Uganda), and the Centre for disease control (CDC) among other institutions.

Capacity building

The laboratory offers among others the following training and capacity building opportunities

  • Placement training for both undergraduate and graduate students
  • Specialized training in TB diagnostics and research for various laboratory cadres
  • Technical and infrastructural support to PHD students from different nationalities and universities around the world

Technical collaborations

The laboratory has a close working relationship with the following institutions

  • Supranational/National TB reference laboratory – Kampala, Uganda
  • Mycobacteriology laboratory at the College of Health Sciences, Makekere University
  • Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, USA.

Research collaborations

The JCRC TB laboratory is a site laboratory for the following research consortia

  • Tuberculosis trial consortium (TBTC)
  • AIDS clinical trials group (ACTG)