For the first time, a gene linked to the disease tuberculosis has been identified which, is held to control the onset of the disease. The gene NRAMP1 is known to be involved in a number of other diseases like leprosy and rheumatoid arthritis.
Different forms of the gene are held to control the speed at which tuberculosis develops. Certain factors are already known to increase the speed at which people develop tuberculosis. HIV and tuberculosis are synergistic partners and appear to accelerate disease progression when they occur together.
Tuberculosis is a very common disease, affecting about one-third of the world's population. Of the estimated two billion people infected, only 5%-10% actually develop tuberculosis disease in their lifetime. The other 90%-95% appear to contain the infection in a dormant state and do not manifest the disease for reasons not yet understood.
Understanding the basic pathways of pathogenesis such as these offers new targets and policies for disease prevention. This is just a starter kit. We still have a long way to go with respect to the cure and therapeutic intervention.