The major technological discoveries of the last decades have tentatively been used for decreasing the burden of tuberculosis (TB) that remains a major public health problem worldwide. Our Research Unit has participated in 1) the improvement of the TB diagnosis, 2) the development of genetic and genomic strategies for deciphering host-pathogen interactions that has led to the development of a vaccine candidate under clinical trial and 3) the development of new strategies for the identification of new antibiotic regimen.
So far, only the diagnosis process has benefited from up-to-date technologies, making it available within one day instead of several weeks.
Although multi drug resistant (MDR) TB cases have largely expanded in several countries, the treatment of TB essentially remains based on antibiotics discovered more than 50 years ago. No vaccine with better efficacy than BCG, discovered 100 years ago, has been implemented, thus explaining the difficulties for TB elimination. New strategies for the development of new vaccines have been developed through the European consortia TB vaccine cluster and TB-VAC. Several candidates are currently under clinical trials.
Genetic and genomic approaches are currently used to discover Mycobacterium tuberculosis factors involved in pathogenicity and how they interact with host factors, thus favouring the development of the TB disease. These strategies may offer new markers for the diagnosis of early forms of the TB disease together with improved treatment.
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Address: Institut Pasteur, Paris, France