Scientists have found a genetic fingerprint that may help predict whether people infected with tuberculosis (TB) will become ill or carry the infection without effects.
Approximately one-third of the world’s population has been exposed to or infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (pictured), but only 10% of these people become ill. The study, published in Nature, looked at over 400 blood samples in patients with TB.
In patients infected with TB, scientists found blood molecules in a specific pattern, known as a genetic fingerprint. The authors of the study also found that this genetic fingerprint disappears in people successfully treated.
If developed further, the authors believe that this genetic fingerprint may make it possible to not only diagnose people with TB, but also to monitor the success of treatment.