A major difficulty in treating patients with pulmonary TB is that the organism can become progressively resistant to standard therapy. This resistance was long thought to be acquired through mutations in the infecting strain when the treatment regimen was inadequate or the patient did not comply with it. More recently, studies of the genetic make-up of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) strains have shown that resistance can also result from re-infection with a new strain that is already drug-resistant, sometimes against multiple drugs.
The authors of the new study, Qian Gao, PhD, and coworkers in Shanghai, China and elsewhere, used molecular genetics and drug susceptibility testing to investigate patients with TB who were treated in Shanghai hospitals during 1999-2004. They focused on 38 patients from whom samples were available before and during treatment. The researchers found that the strains of TB in the samples taken before treatment were genetically different from those taken during treatment in 87 percent (33 out of 38) of patients.
To determine the relative proportion of drug resistance caused by re-infection or mutation, the authors excluded six patients who were initially infected with resistant TB and then became drug-susceptible or resistant to fewer drugs. In the remaining 32 patients, the initial sample was drug-susceptible or resistant to at least one drug and the subsequent sample resistant to one or more drugs. Of these patients, 84 percent (27 patients) had before-and-during samples with different genetic patterns and only 16 percent (5 patients) had identical patterns. Thus, there were more than 5 times as many cases caused by re-infection compared to mutation.
"It was surprising to find a high rate of primary drug-resistant strains among treated patients," said Dr.Gao. "This overturned the common belief that drug resistance among treated patients is always acquired."
The investigators also noted that two patients in the study had multidrug-resistant strains in both their first and second sample, and that 10 others had multidrug-resistant strains in their second sample; genetic testing showed that 9 of the 10 patients had a different strain in the second sample. The most serious kind of drug-resistant disease therefore accounted for about a third of patients with drug resistance.
Limitations of the study included the exclusion of many patients without sample results, reliance on previously collected data in which some patients might have been misclassified, use of computerized drug susceptibility data, and the unknown contribution of mixed infections. Nevertheless, the findings are a warning. Although better diagnostics, drugs, and effective vaccines for TB are clearly needed, the authors said, "Our findings highlight the urgency of accelerating efforts to interrupt the transmission of drug-resistant tuberculosis." The research shows improved methods of preventing TB transmission may be needed in the very facilities and communities where TB patients are treated.
- Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world's top killer diseases, claiming roughly 2 million lives each year.
- Drug-resistant TB is a growing problem worldwide. Most resistance is believed to derive from inefficient treatment, leading to mutations.
- This study found that 33 of 38 patients had a different strain of TB during treatment than before treatment.
- Improved methods of preventing TB transmission may be needed in the very facilities and communities where TB patients are treated.
Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences