Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in British Columbia
Time frame: 2014-2019
Researchers: Drs James Johnston, Jennifer Gardy, and Patrick Tang
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by a slow-growing germ most often in the lungs spread through the air from one infected person to another through coughing, sneezing, laughing, or singing. TB isn’t a disease of the past–decades after the first antibiotics to treat TB were developed, Canada still sees five people diagnosed with TB every day. Federally and provincially, Canada is committed to eliminating TB, and in British Columbia (BC), innovative genomics techniques are being used to accelerate our progress towards elimination.
The BCCDC Foundation is proud to have funded a five-year project—one of the largest TB genomics projects at the time (nearly 1500 TB genomes)—that used DNA sequencing of the TB bacterium to understand how it is entering BC, how it is moving from person to person across the province, and, most importantly, how this transmission can be stopped, resulting in fewer cases of this serious illness.
Drs Gardy and Johnston felt that the impact of this project was profound, a world first, and it generated actionable insights into TB transmission, changing how BC approaches TB prevention.
Dr Jennifer Gardy, researcher, in 2018
This project has been the best experience of our scientific lives so far!
As of 2018, this work had generated 16 publications and been presented internationally, with over 50 invited talks and poster presentations. Begun with funds through the BCCDC Foundation in 2014, additional funds were secured through Genome BC, allowing the Foundation to successfully leverage our initial investment and extend the project and expand the outcomes well beyond the initially-proposed aims. Though this project wrapped up in 2019, we’re very proud to have made such an impact to TB research for BC and know that we helped set this research team on a path to further success.
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