SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

French scientists discover critical stage in evolution of TB

These discoveries could help researchers develop a more thorough understanding of how TB operates and evolves. | File photo
Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, France's National Center for Scientific Research and the Université Toulouse III recently discovered a critical stage that is part of the evolution of tuberculosis (TB) bacillus in developing pathogenicity.

In 2014 alone, an estimated 9.6 million people contracted TB with 1.5 million people dying worldwide. These figures make TB the world’s second-highest cause of death due to one infective agent.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an infective agent, causes TB, a chronic bacterial illness. The researchers found a glycolipid within the envelope of the bacterial cell and during evolution, this glycolipid could heighten the TB bacilli virulence among humans.

In contrast, when the glycolipids disappeared, TB became Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is much more aggressive and raising in pathogenicity.

These discoveries could help researchers develop a more thorough understanding of how TB operates and evolves. This could enable them to further advance science against the emerging TB bacilli, allowing them to help people around the world.

For researchers to develop better strategies for fighting TB, they must better understand how the disease’s mechanisms operate as it spreads. There are various evolutionary stages that cause genetic adaptations, allowing TB bacillus to settle in humans.

Understanding this will allow researchers to improve their methods of fighting TB on a worldwide scale.

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