John D. McKinney, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), provides an overview of the natural history of TB infection and the global impact of TB on human health.
"The principal obstacle to successful treatment of tuberculosis is the lengthy duration of current regimens, which require administration of multiple drugs for 6-9 months. The requirement for prolonged therapy is attributed to sub-populations of bacillary "persisters" that are refractory to antimicrobials. The persisters are not drug-resistant in the conventional (heritable) sense and it is a mystery why they are spared whilst their genetically identical siblings are killed. The third part of this lecture describes recent work in our laboratory using microfluidics and time-lapse microscopy to analyze the behavior of drug-stressed bacteria at single-cell resolution. These studies challenge conventional views of how antimicrobials kill (or fail to kill) bacteria."