Review| Volume 78, ISSUE 4, P261-268, April 2019

Precision medicine in resistant Tuberculosis: Treat the correct patient, at the correct time, with the correct drug

  • Sharana Mahomed
    Corresponding author.
    CAPRISA, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, Doris Duke Medical Research Institute, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X7, Congella, 4013, Durban, South Africa
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  • Nesri Padayatchi
    CAPRISA, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, Doris Duke Medical Research Institute, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X7, Congella, 4013, Durban, South Africa
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  • Jerome Singh
    CAPRISA, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, Doris Duke Medical Research Institute, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X7, Congella, 4013, Durban, South Africa
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  • Kogieleum Naidoo
    CAPRISA, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, Doris Duke Medical Research Institute, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X7, Congella, 4013, Durban, South Africa
    Search for articles by this author
Published:March 05, 2019DOI:


      Human genomic mapping has advanced molecular medicine health care and created a transformative paradigm shift towards Precision Medicine. In 2015, President Obama launched the PM initiative, encapsulated as “unique individualized data-driven treatments”. Since then, this field is rapidly advancing both curative treatment and disease prevention by accounting for both individual and environmental variability. While a substantial evidence for accelerating adoption of Precision Medicine in other spheres of medicine exists, application of Precision Medicine in infectious diseases is far more complex.
      One of the most warranted applications of precision healthcare is in the management and treatment of Drug-resistant Tuberculosis. Application of Precision Medicine to Drug-resistant Tuberculosis could potentially change the landscape of treatment and prevention of a disease affecting vulnerable patients in impoverished communities. Poorly diagnosed and treated Drug-resistant Tuberculosis not only leads to increased mortality and morbidity but also increased transmission of DR-TB strains, fuelling ongoing high incidence rates and further infection.
      A Precision medicine model using individual clinical case histories used in conjunction with Mycobacterium Tuberculosis infection genomic data will better guide health care practitioners in more appropriate drug selection, and an individualized management approach. This viewpoint deliberates the intricacies of adopting a PM approach in the management of DR-TB. If applied correctly, we postulate that the research, application, and deployment of PM in DR-TB management may address the fundamental rule of PM in infectious disease: to treat the correct patient, at the correct time, with the correct drug.


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