Paul MacAry of the National University of Singapore in Singapore, working with Babak Javid of Tsinghua University in China, will study human monoclonal antibodies that protect individuals from infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and could be used to develop a tuberculosis vaccine. Tuberculosis is the world's most deadly infectious disease and the causative bacteria are present in latent form in up to a quarter of the global population. They have discovered protective antibodies in three health care workers who are exposed to very high levels of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They will isolate these antibodies from memory B cells to study how they bind to the bacteria and trigger a protective immune response. They will then develop an assay to screen larger numbers of workers to isolate and characterize more potent human antibodies that could be used to design an effective vaccine.
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