A look into…Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic bacterial infection caused by variants in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This bacterium is normally killed by the immune system within most healthy people, but if infection occurs, can lead to a long, prolonged cough, weight loss, high temperature and fatigue. Tuberculosis is a droplet infection and is normally spread through prolonged exposure to others with an active TB infection, making people who live in overcrowded conditions at a much higher risk of the disease.

Tuberculosis infections have unique virulence factors compared to most pathogens as they are able to survive within phagosomes with little nutrients, and have a unique ability to utilize cholesterol through a cholesterol catabolism pathway. This pathway requires a large number of oxygenases and therefore TB most commonly infects the lungs where there is a large supply of oxygen; however, it can also infect other extrapulmonary areas. Within the epiomic database, the data has been sub-divided to indicate whether the site affected was pulmonary, extrapulmonary or both, providing key information and deep insight into the disease.

Cholesterol metabolism has been studied extensively because of its possible therapeutic applications in TB infections, which are becoming increasingly harder to treat due to multi-drug resistance. The Epiomic™ database allows you to view data by case type, including multi-drug resistant cases and to view treatment outcomes, which is crucial for the future development of drugs for this disease.

Did you know ... A person living with HIV is 26-31 times more likely to develop active TB.