ARTICLE | Tools & Techniques

Identifying TB carriers at risk

September 9, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

More than 2 billion individuals worldwide are infected with latent tuberculosis and about 10% of the cases will progress to active disease. The problem is that current tests cannot identify which individuals will progress. Now, an international team led by the U.K.'s MRC National Institute for Medical Researchhas identified gene expression signatures in whole blood that potentially could be used to identify the individuals most likely to progress to active infection.1

Using whole-blood patient samples, the team uncovered an expression signature of 393 genes that could discriminate between active TB, latent TB and healthy individuals in three cohorts: London, the U.K. overall and South Africa. The TB signatures corresponded with the radiological extent of disease and reverted to a healthy signature after patients had undergone a 12-month treatment regimen...