Coronavirus can activate TB, other bacterial infections: Study

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Coronavirus (Image: Pixabay)
Coronavirus (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi : Coronavirus can be very unpredictable and it has been proven in the second wave of coronavirus when people had to see new infections like black and yellow fungus. Now, a new study has claimed that it can trigger dormant tuberculosis (TB).

This can be treated as an alarm for the countries like India where 40% of the total population is believed to be suffering from dormant or latent TB. In a study done by the researchers at IIT Guwahati and the University of Massachusetts showed that a specific coronavirus strain reactivated dormant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in mice.

The results from the study have been published in The American Journal of Pathology.

“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 the Department of Stem Cell and Infectious Diseases, KaviKrishna Laboratory, IIT-Guwahati.

“There is an urgent need to study the association of Covid-19 with dormant TB reactivation to avoid a potential global TB pandemic,” Das added.

TB was reactivated in the dMtb mice, suggesting that dormant TB bacteria hijack these ASCs to replicate in the lung to cause pulmonary TB.

“It is important to understand the host defence mechanism against this disease to develop a better vaccine and/or treatment. We, therefore, postulated that similar to bacteria, adult stem cells may also exhibit an altruistic defence mechanism to protect their niche against external threat,” Das said.