October 12, 2018 – Genes and TB


Anchor lead: Taking a look at all the genes in tuberculosis can help design more effective treatments, Elizabeth Tracey reports

A look at genes, mutations, and resistance to drugs in tuberculosis bacteria published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine should help design better diagnostic tests and lead to more efficacious treatments. That’s according to Richard Chaisson, a TB expert at Johns Hopkins.

Chaisson: It looked for the relationship between genetic mutations and TB and resistance to drugs. We have genetic tests that we use now, regularly, that are fairly recent but they’re very good. And what this study did is it did whole genome sequencing, so it looked at all the genes in TB, and looked at mutations in those genes and associated them with resistance to drugs. From a technical point of view its extremely helpful, it’s really good basic science information that can now be used to develop better diagnostic tests. :33

Chaisson says global TB containment and eradication must integrate such approaches, along with strategies to reduce the amount of time it takes to get the infection diagnosed, which may be a year or longer in some areas. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.