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The diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in China: tracing the origins of the worldwide dispersion of the multidrug-resistant Beijing genotype

Final Report Summary - Tuberculosis China (The diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in China: tracing the origins of the worldwide dispersion of the multidrug-resistant Beijing genotype)

In China a large fraction of the population is infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis (TB), with 500,000 new cases every year. An important proportion of strains are resistant to multiple drugs used to treat this disease. Previous work showed that the Beijing genotype is prevalent in China. Strains of a similar genotype are found worldwide (particularly in Eastern Europe and in the countries of the former Soviet Union) and are often associated with multidrug-resistance. The very rapid and efficient dispersion of the Beijing strains suggest that they may have developed selective advantages.

The 'Diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in China: tracing the origins of the worldwide dispersion of the multidrug-resistant Beijing genotype' (Tuberculosis China) project aimed to organise, collect, store and analyse a large collection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains (6,000) from the 31 provinces of China. The data was compared to the characteristics of strains collected in other countries. Once done the project was able to characterise the dominant bacterial populations in China and to find whether the dispersion of the Beijing type is of clonal origin.

During the lifetime of the project, prepared in collaboration with Chinese scientists, the project performed a survey in 12 provinces. For this the technical knowledge was transferred and the progress of the experiments were regularly assessed through exchanges of personal and meetings. The data has been collected in a shared-database and we are now producing population analyses.

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