To mark World Tuberculosis
Day Thursday, the global health community honored discoveries from scientists who have made TB discoveries throughout history.
Most recently, Dr. Jeffrey Cirillo, a professor from the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, has worked with his team to develop a new approach for addressing TB.
The research creates a rapid, cost-effective test for the disease. Because TB grows slowly, creating new treatments is challenging because it is hard to see if the treatment actually works.
"Since M. tuberculosis takes about a month to quantify using traditional approaches, any method that allows direct determination of the amount of bacteria present is very valuable and speeds progress, saving months every time an experiment is done," Cirillo said. "Our methods allow this."
TB has the second-highest infectious disease death rate in the world, with approximately three people dying every minute from TB infections.
"There have never been sensitive enough systems to measure the bacteria directly in animals," Cirillo said. "This is a completely new technology and has nearly limitless applications to microbiological research, particularly in animals, but it increases sensitivity in any experimental system."