Natural History

TB or not TB: What is Tuberculosis? Challenging the Current Paradigm of Tuberculosis Natural History using Mathematical Modelling Techniques

TB or not TB website

Aims: TBornotTB is a project that aims to better understand how tuberculosis (TB) develops in individuals and spreads in populations. For a public health threat that has caused over two billion deaths in human history the so-called natural history of TB has remained stubbornly elusive. The classic paradigm of TB natural history typically accounts for two distinct stages of infection and disease, and one-way progression between them. However, data has shown that individuals can actually experience disease across a spectrum intensity, which varies over time.

Before the TBornotTB project, little was known on how many individuals are currently in the different stages of disease, how long they remain there, and how much they contribute to ongoing transmission. If we however better understand the reality of TB in a population, the limited resources available can be used more effectively to reduce the burden of disease, thus saving lives now, and reducing transmission in the future. That is why TBornotTB has two main objectives. First to bring together old and new data to understand how the new states of TB infection and disease are. Second to use mathematical modelling tools to show the consequences, which should help improve TB policies.

People: Rein Houben, Jon Emery, Alexandra Richards, Katherine Horton, Nabila Shaikh, and Nicola Foster

Funding: TBornotTB has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Starting Grant, Grant agreement No. 757699)

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