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Fighting the spread of TB

Tuberculosis is preventable and curable, and yet 9 900 000 people fell ill with the disease in 2020 and 1.5 million died. This episode is looking at what the EU is doing to curb the spread and improve our understanding of the nature of the illness.

Health

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Insights and ideas

Global efforts to combat the disease have saved an estimated 66 million lives since 2000. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit the fight against tuberculosis (TB) hard. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. This episode of CORDIScovery hears from three researchers who have all been at the forefront of controlling the spread of the disease. New, cheap and non-invasive tests; drilling down into the pathogen’s genome to get a clearer understanding of how it spreads; work done at a molecular level to establish how the bacteria switch from latent to active infection – all vital if we are to get a handle on controlling and preventing outbreaks. Hossam Haick is dean at the Israel Institute of Technology, the Technion. His work developing A-Patch was supported by both the EU and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hossam leads activities developing non-invasive smart sensors and wearable devices to enable early detection of diseases such as TB, and the lifelong monitoring of health disorders. Teresa Cortes is based at the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia, part of the Spanish National Research Council. She is interested in understanding how the bacteria that cause TB in humans infect, survive, cause disease and develop antibiotic resistance. Teresa was involved in the MtbTransReg project. Iñaki Comas, who explains the findings of his project TB-ACCELERATE, is also based at the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia. He is working on unravelling the intricacy of TB’s genomics to understand the evolution and epidemiology of infectious diseases. His lab is particularly focused on TB, but also works on other diseases, like COVID-19.

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Keywords

CORDIScovery, CORDIS, tuberculosis, A-Patch, MtbTransReg, TB-ACCELERATE, World Health Organization, epidemiology, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation