Drug resistant causes of Tuberculosis identified

19 October 2021 HealthInnovationNewton Fund

Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified almost all genetic variations that give people resistance to common tuberculosis (TB) drug treatments.

The team employed cutting-edge genomic sequencing to identify the genetic causes to drug resistance for the 13 most common TB treatments.

The Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis International Consortium (CRyPTIC) research project collected the largest ever data set of clinical M. tuberculosis samples. The data came from 27 countries across 5 continents.

Two key advances were made in this project: a new quantitative test for drug resistance and a new approach which identifies all the genetic changes in a sample of drug-resistant TB bacteria. These innovations can quantify how changes in the genetic code of the illness reduce how well treatments work.

Apart from Covid-19, Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people each year than any other bacterium, virus or parasite. TB is a treatable illness, however over the last 30 years drug resistance has become a major problem.

Results from this project could greatly improve the treatment of TB around the world. Patients can now be treated with medicine that removes the chance of drug resistance, improves control of TB, and facilitates the World Health Organisation’s ‘end TB’ strategy.


This project is funded by MRC Newton FundWellcome, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The work of Prof Crook’s team is supported through the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbiology Theme.

Find out more about the project here – Press release – Largest ever global study of tuberculosis identifies genetic causes of drug resistance – CRyPTIC (crypticproject.org)