In a recent move, a decision has been taken that academics from the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham will join forces with students from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in order to tackle Tuberculosis (TB). The decision has been taken as TB remains in epidemic proportions all over the world, particularly in India.
According to Apoorva Bhatt, lecturer in molecular microbiology, University of Birmingham and a part of the research team, “Although there has been a lot of work on the role of genetic pre-disposition to TB, these studies are at a nascent stage. Additionally, it is difficult to pin down a single causative factor for a high burden in a geographical location as this depends on a number of factors and can also be complicated by socio-economic factors."
Methods of Prevention
The techniques in order to prevent TB are more or less the same whether it is vaccination, therapeutic drugs or diagnosis methods. There is an anti-TB drug regiment which includes treatment of two months with a cocktail of four drugs, followed by four months with two drugs.
Also, everybody must be aware of DOTS, that is, directly observed treatment-short course which is a key strategy of controlling TB.
There are four main areas of TB biology which are needed to be understood in order to understand the disease of TB deeply. These areas include,
Studying how the 'packaging' of DNA in the TB bacillus by special proteins affects the expression of its genes;
Developing new technologies to study components of the TB bacillus that help it sense the environment;
Evaluation of a new diagnostic tool based on spectroscopic detection of a lipid biomarker, and
Investigating the potential interplay between an important central metabolic pathway of the bacterium and the composition of the cell envelope (virulence determinant) of the causative bacterium, mycobacterium tuberculosis.
"The expertise at both institutions is complementary and we envisage that these collaborative ventures will allow the Birmingham and Bangalore labs to tap into research strengths of both institutions and eventually facilitate a bidirectional flow of research expertise," says Bhatt.