The local immune response in the airways and blood of contacts early after TB exposure determines outcome


  • Dr Anne O'Garra

    The Francis Crick Institute

Project summary

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis that affects 10 million people worldwide each year. The infection is acquired by aerosol from people infected with TB, but this is usually controlled by immune processes in the lung. In 5-10% of infections, active TB develops in up to two years. This indicates failed immune protection, the mechanisms of which are poorly understood. 

I will characterise the cellular and molecular immune responses in the airways compared with the blood of TB-exposed contacts and compared with well-defined populations with TB. We will apply genomic and molecular methods to investigate the immune response and compare this between contacts that remain healthy with those who develop TB. 

Our approach will transform our knowledge of immune processes that are either protective or confer susceptibility to TB and provide new strategies for treatment and vaccine development.