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About the Centre for Tuberculosis Research

The overall mission of the Centre for Tuberculosis Research at Karolinska Institutet is to stimulate and facilitate the interactions between TB researchers at KI with different research focus.

These interactions will bring together different research expertise, lead to a broader and integrated understanding of the disease, and promote the identification and planning of new multi-disciplinary research projects at KI. This centre will also improve KI’s visibility in the field of TB research.

Research themes

The centre will bring together TB research expertise at, network with external institutions, and serve as a hub for international collaboration in several research themes, including:

  • TB elimination in low-incidence countries, with special focus on TB and migration
  • Social protection and TB, linking SDG 3 and SDG 1
  • TB diagnostics (point-of-care diagnostics for active TB and biomarkers for risk of activation of latent infection and timely detection of drug resistance)
  • WGS/MIC vs phenotypic DST for drug sensitive and drug resistant TB
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring for MDR-TB prevention and treatment optimization
  • Identification of immune responses during TB infection and vaccination, including mechanisms of cell migration, immune protection and pathogenesis.
  • Characterization of cellular and molecular interactions in the TB granuloma.
  • Aerobiology and the study of transmission, including the development of technology to sample TB from air
  • Molecular characterisation of essential metabolic pathways and early drug discovery

Background

Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people than any other infectious disease. Around one third-one fourth of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis, however only 10 percent of these will develop disease.

Every year, more than 10 million people develop TB and almost 2 million people die from the disease. Global TB rates are decreasing only very slowly. Multidrug-resistant TB is an increasing threat and the current vaccine, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), is efficient in preventing disease in adults.

Moreover, co-morbidities enhance the risk of latent TB-infected individuals of developing TB disease. Existing interventions are insufficient for rapid reduction of the global burden. New and better tools and strategies for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment are urgently needed.

Research groups at KI conducting TB research

A number of research groups at KI have a long-standing commitment in TB research. These groups have very different expertise ranging from molecular studies to epidemiological, social medicine and global health approaches and are located in at least five different departments at KI.

Experimental, clinical, epidemiological, social science and health economic TB research are conducted at KI. These groups study aspects of the disease that range from transmission, treatment, prophylaxis, epidemiology and basic physiopathology.

Specific areas include:

  • biochemistry
  • structural biology
  • aerobiology and transmission
  • pathogenesis
  • vaccine development
  • role of co-morbidities
  • development and mapping of antibiotic resistance
  • design of new drugs
  • host-mediated therapy
  • development of novel diagnostic tools
  • evaluation of TB screening
  • social interventions for improved access and adherence

All with a potential to contribute evidence underpinning guidance by bodies designing policies for TB elimination at the national and global levels. The aim of the centre is to improve communication between these different research groups at KI.

Research groups at KI involved with the centre

Collaboration outside of KI

KI has existing links with many TB research institutions globally as well as with the Public Health Agency of Sweden, European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is currently a strong momentum for TB research. In November 2017, the World Health Organization organized a Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Tuberculosis (TB) in the Sustainable Development (SDG) Era, which resulted in the Moscow Declaration.

The declaration emphasizes the need to increase investments in multi-disciplinary TB research, reinforcing one of the pillars of WHO's End TB Strategy. KI has already contributed to these developments and has hosted a global WHO consultation on research for TB elimination.

KI has also moved forward its positioning in basic and applied TB research with the construction of a state-of-the-art Biological Level-3 laboratory at the new Biomedicum building in Solna.

Contact us

Professor/överläkare

Knut Lönnroth

Enhet: Socialmedicin
E-post: knut.lonnroth@ki.se