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‘Beijing Tuberculosis strain cases rises to 40%’: Study

The research is part of a global study called Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis (CRyPTIC), which aims at building a “resistance catalogue” of TB bacteria by studying 0.1 million TB isolates across the globe.

mumbai Updated: Mar 19, 2019 03:59 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Mumbai
Beijing,TB,Tuberculosis
Even as the number of tuberculosis-related deaths in the city has declined over the past three years, an ongoing global study found nearly 40% of the tuberculosis (TB) patients in its Mumbai sample were infected with a drug-resistant form known as the Beijing strain. HT Photo by Kalpak Pathak(Hindustan Times)

Even as the number of tuberculosis-related deaths in the city has declined over the past three years, an ongoing global study found nearly 40% of the tuberculosis (TB) patients in its Mumbai sample were infected with a drug-resistant form known as the Beijing strain.

The research is part of a global study called Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis (CRyPTIC), which aims at building a “resistance catalogue” of TB bacteria by studying 0.1 million TB isolates across the globe.

“Our new findings sadly suggest that drug-resistant TB is perhaps on the rise in the city. Many countries are seeing a shift to this strain. However in India, the Beijing strain is associated with higher drug resistance,” said Dr Nerges Mistry, director of the city-based Foundation for Medical Research (FMR).

A decade ago, the Beijing strain was found in 4% of TB cases in the city and so far, no causes have been identified for the increase in the number of new cases. For CRyPTIC, scientists from FMR have isolated bacteria from the sputum samples of TB patients receiving treatment at PD Hinduja Hospital and Research Centre, Mahim.

They sequenced the complete genome of bacterial DNA from every patient to reach their findings.

The Mahim facility often sees complex, multi-drug resistant (MDR) forms of the infection.

Mumbai is known the capital of drug-resistant TB cases and sees around 5,000 new MDR cases each year. So far, researchers have studied 3,500 samples, all of which are from PD Hinduja Hospital and Research Centre.

The Beijing strain was found among patients who lived in close geographical proximity of another, suggesting there may be ‘hotspots’ in the city.

“We will have to confirm the possibility of quick transmission of the Beijing strain with molecular and epidemiological techniques,” said Dr Mistry.

First Published: Mar 19, 2019 03:59 IST