Tuberculosis is a lethal disease that affects thousands of individuals around the world every year. Recently, scientists developed a tool that can help reduce the number of tuberculosis cases and help millions of individuals live a healthier life.
The research was published recently in the journal Nature Medicine.
Scientists from University College London (UCL) develop this tool to predict the risk of tuberculosis. According to the researchers, they developed an algorithm to reduce tuberculosis cases and even eliminate it from some regions.
The researchers conducted surveys and obtained data from thousands of individuals. They recorded information from them including their age, their immune health, migration status, and if they are on exposure to the disease.
According to scientists from the Institute of Global Health, the researcher conducted such a survey for the first time which will help the doctors understand their nature of the disease and treat them accordingly. The scientists also mentioned that this survey will help them predict the risk of people developing this disease.
Most of the individuals with active tuberculosis seek medical help when they show symptoms. However, this study will target those individuals who have the disease but do not show any symptoms. This means that the bacteria in their body is going through the latent phase.
The researcher obtained the data from countries including Australia, the US, and European countries. They aim to eliminate tuberculosis from these countries as the transmission rate and risk is low among them.
The authors of this study mentioned that considering the data of nearly 80,000 individuals, 16 percent of children in this group had TB in the latent phase. Also, these children recently contacted a person with the disease. The scientists also mentioned that these children could develop the active disease within the next five years.
The results were different in adults with a 5 percent population on developing active TB. These people were usually migrants from the region with a high incidence of the disease. Also, they contacted people with active tuberculosis or had a poor immune response.
The survey also shows that tuberculosis risk declines with time. Also, most of the active cases of this disease develop no later than two years since the latent infection has occurred.
The author of this research paper, Dr. Rishi Gupta said that if researchers are able to identify the people at high risk of the disease, they can treat them before they become terminally ill. There are some antibiotics available that can prevent active infection in these individuals.
According to data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 10 million individuals contract the disease every year. However, a lot of these cases are not recorded due to several reasons. This can lead to the spread of tuberculosis as it can spread through particles in the air.
The WHO also suggests that nearly one-quarter of the total population of the world has this disease. It infects people when they inhale the pathogen through the air. The immune system can suppress the infection for several years which goes undetected but it finally becomes active after years.