The SBMU Mycobacteriology Research Center (MRC) which is one of the branches of the National Research Institute for Tuberculosis & Lung Disease (NRITLD), began its mission in 1995 as the “Referral Lab for Tuberculosis in Iran”. Quality control at MRC includes general supervision, training, and testing blind samples received. Presently, there are 939 mycobacteriology labs operating in Iran out of which 291 (31 %) belong to the private sector, and the rest are supervised by the Ministry of Health, Treatment, and medical Education of Iran.

In the mycobacteriology lab network of Iran, the Smear Tests and drug sensitivity & culture are performed in 6 labs; in 52 labs there are Smear Test & culture, and in the rest of the labs only the Smear Test is conducted.  

The SBMU NRITLD MRC Routine Diagnostic Units

The SBMU NRITLD Mycobacteriology Research Center (MRC) renders all its diagnostic services to all health care units and centers throughout Iran. There are between 80 to 120 samples (1, 2, and 3) sent to MRC. Around 55% to 58% of the samples are sputa, while the rest of the samples are those taken from the upper pulmonary tracts.

On average, 20-30 % of the samples are for microscopic diagnostic tests, and 65-85 % of the samples need the culture media testing in addition to the microscopic diagnostic tests.

Molecular speed tests are performed on all of the samples received for culture media tests (50-60 samples per day) along with diagnostic drug resistance tests and bacterium identity tests.

Moreover, patients’ genetic polymorphism is also conducted at MRC. The genes studied at MRC may include IFN, TNF, IL-12, NRAMP, and VDR.

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In emergency cases, one may call (+98)- 21- 2610- 9505  

The SBMU NRITLD MRC Quality Control Programs

The SBMU NRITLD Mycobacteriology Research Center (MRC) quality control program involves a NRL quality control team made of four groups of skillful and experienced medical lab experts operating under national and international quality control programs. The quality control programs are divided into four levels as follows:

  1. A) The management level;
  2. B) Technical methods including:
  • the Smear sample microscopic quality control;
  • the quality control of culture investigation;
  • the quality control of drug sensitivity test
  1. C) The lab physical condition and tool functions, and their periodical maintenance;
  2. D) Personal safety measures as follows:
  • offering enough gowns, masks along with HEPA filters, and gloves;
  • Clinically visiting personnel chests and sputa (upon the clinical requests made by MRC specialists)  

The external quality control is divided into three levels as follows:

For regional labs:

  1. training microorganism identification and drug sensitivity tests;
  2. supervisory visits; 

For intermediate labs:

  1. training microorganism identification and drug sensitivity tests;
  2. supervisory visits;
  3. visiting unidentified microscopic slides;

For peripheral blood labs:

  1. training microorganism identification and drug sensitivity tests;
  2. supervisory visits;
  3. panel tests;
  4. reviewing unidentified slides received from intermediate labs (the controversies seen are sent to the SBMU MRC


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