Study reveals, Covid-19 can activate dormant bacterial infection, tuberculosis

GUWAHATI: The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 may have the ability to reactivate dormant tuberculosis (TB). In a novel study scientists report in The American Journal of Pathology that infection with a specific coronavirus strain reactivated dormant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in mice. This knowledge may help to develop new vaccines for COVID-19 and avoid a potential global tuberculosis epidemic.

The study, led by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, and University of Massachusetts, showed that infection with a specific coronavirus strain reactivated dormant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in mice.

The results, detailed in the American Journal of Pathology, may pave the way for new vaccines against the infectious disease and avoid a potential global TB epidemic.

"The finding of TB reactivation in a stem cell-mediated Mtb dormancy mouse model during MHV-1 coronavirus infection indicates that in the long-term, post-pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus might activate dormant bacterial infections. This is a significant finding considering the current coronavirus pandemic, where many individuals in India and other developing countries with dormant TB infection may see an increase in active TB cases post Covid-19," explained lead investigator Bikul Das, from Department of Stem Cell and Infectious Diseases, KaviKrishna Laboratory, IIT-Guwahati.


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