Evaluation of commercial molecular diagnostic methods for detection and determination of macrolide resistance in mycoplasma pneumoniae

Sixto M. Leal, Arthur H. Totten, Li Xiao, Donna M. Crabb, Amy Ratliff, Lynn B. Duffy, Karen B. Fowler, Emily Mixon, Jonas M. Winchell, Maureen H. Diaz, Alvaro J. Benitez, Bernard J. Wolff, Xuan Qin, Y. W. Tang, Mark Gonzalez, Raj Selvarangan, Tao Hong, Edward Brooks, Steve Dallas, T. Prescott AtkinsonXiaotian Zheng, Jennifer Dien Bard, Ken B. Waites*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We evaluated six commercial molecular tests targeting Mycoplasma pneumoniae, namely, the BioFire FilmArray respiratory panel (RP), the Meridian Alethia Mycoplasma Direct, the GenMark ePlex respiratory pathogen panel (RPP), the Luminex NxTAG RPP, the ELITech ELITe InGenius Mycoplasma MGB research use only (RUO) PCR, and the SpeeDx Resistance Plus MP assays. Laboratory-developed PCR assays at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were used as reference standards. Among 428 specimens, 212 were designated confirmed positives for M. pneumoniae. The highest clinical sensitivities were found with the InGenius PCR (99.5%) and the FilmArray RP (98.1%). The Resistance Plus MP identified 93.3% of the confirmed-positive specimens, whereas 83.6, 64.6, and 55.7% were identified by the ePlex RPP, NxTAG RPP, and Mycoplasma Direct assays, respectively. There was no significant difference between the sensitivity of the reference methods and that of the FilmArray RP and InGenius assays, but the remaining four assays detected significantly fewer positive specimens (P<0.05). Specificities of all assays were 99.5 to 100%. The Resistance Plus MP assay detected macrolide resistance in 27/33 specimens, resulting in a sensitivity of 81.8%. This study provides the first large-scale comparison of commercial molecular assays for detection of M. pneumoniae in the United States and identified clear differences among their performance. Additional studies are necessary to explore the impact of various test performances on patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00242-20
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Alethia Mycoplasma Direct
  • Biofire
  • Community-acquired pneumonia
  • ELITech InGenius
  • GenMark
  • Luminex NxTAG
  • Macrolide resistance
  • Molecular detection
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • PCR
  • SpeeDx

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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