World TB Day logo courtesy CDC web resources

The World Health Organization estimates that almost 4,000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people contract TB every day.  Currently, 13 million people in the United States live with latent (hidden) TB infection.

Wadsworth Center, led by Clinical Director of the Wadsworth Center David Axelrod Institute, Dr. Kimberlee Musser, celebrates World TB day on March 24th having made major strides in combatting this challenging but preventable and curable disease.

Time to diagnosis is critical in preventing the spread of TB.  Results of whole genome sequencing (WGS), sequencing of the organism’s entire 4.4 million nucleotide genome, performed at Wadsworth Center, aid in diagnosis, epidemiological tracking, disease control and prevention.  This approach also yields comprehensive information on drug resistance, allowing prediction of the most efficacious treatment regimen.

Wadsworth Center’s TB Lab began using WGS as the first line of testing in October 2018, becoming the first state public health laboratory to perform whole genome sequencing of TB isolates. By replacing several tests, including time consuming culture of the bacterium with WGS, the TB Lab has been able to reduce testing turn-around time from 41 to 4 days.

Dr. Musser says, "Testing with whole genome sequencing is faster than culture-based susceptibility testing and thus allows tuberculosis controllers and physicians to use the lab’s information more quickly, which is especially helpful for multidrug-resistant TB". WGS has advantages over other tests which detect resistance to only one drug.

Through ever-improving clinical testing and basic and applied research, Wadsworth Center is proud to contribute to the global efforts to combat TB which have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000.




World TB Day Timeline


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