Genetic mutation putting Africans at higher TB risk

The high rate of TB co-infection with HIV across the continent has led researchers to suspect a genetic susceptibility at play.

Now a group from the University of Pennsylvania has found a mutation in an immune response gene called macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) confers a 2.5-fold increased risk for severe TB among Ugandan people co-infected with HIV.

The researchers are now working on a project in Botswana to identify MIF polymorphisms among patients with HIV and pulmonary TB in order to target them with intensive preventive treatment.