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Science and Medicine

2003-11-05

EUROPE/SWITZERLAND - TB KILLED TWO MILLION IN THE WORLD IN 12 MONTHS: WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION INTERVENES

Roma (Fides Service ) – TB is still one of the most dangerous infections today: according to the World Health Organisation WHO, every year about 2 million people in various parts of the world die of tuberculosis. The evolution of resistant strains of the infecting bacteria (TB) is one of the main difficulties encountered in treating the disease. TB has elaborated a survival strategy within the body and can stay undisturbed for a long time: it hides in cells which normally serve to destroy disease generating agents and in this way avoids attacks by the immune system or drug therapy.
Exploiting to its own advantage the host’s immune defences the TB causing microbe hides cleverly and accumulates its energy before attacking suddenly. The bacteria responsible for the highest number of deaths even uses its host’s defence system, hiding in a cell of the immune system called macrofagus.
A researcher at Rockefeller University has discovered a method with which the immune system can neutralise the microbe’s attack. If this defence could be strengthened perhaps TB could be defeated biologically. The key is to discover which genes are involved in anti-microbe activity against TB (AP) (5/11/2003 Fides Service; lines: 20 words:214)

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