An enormous challenge lies in the identification of biomarkers of protection, especially vaccine induced protection. Having such markers would make clinical trials with new vaccines much more efficient. In addition, diagnostic biomarkers that differentiate TB from other diseases will be tremendously helpful. We study patterns or signatures of molecular genetic and immune biomarkers in TB cohorts in large consortia supported by various funders. Many of these studies involve African countries.
Most recently we have been able with others to identify the first predictive TB biomarkers, which can predict which infected persons who do not yet have symptoms of TB disease, will progress towards active TB disease. Such tests allow better targeting of preventive treatment to prevent development of active TB, and thus interrupt the chain of transmission to other susceptible individuals.