Research Topic

Immunological Biomarkers for Tuberculosis

About this Research Topic

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by infection with the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). TB can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in young children and is typically treated for half a year or more with a cocktail of antibiotics. Only about 5% of MTB infections, result in overt disease, ...

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by infection with the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). TB can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in young children and is typically treated for half a year or more with a cocktail of antibiotics. Only about 5% of MTB infections, result in overt disease, whereas the rest of infections are thought to result in “latent infection” (LTBI). Supposedly, more than a billion humans have LTBI. LTBI may or may not progress to overt TB disease at later stages. Clinically, human subjects without TB disease symptoms and with an MTB-specific T cell response are defined as having latent infection. Some of these subjects may also have cleared MTB infections even though it is unknown in what frequency this occurs. Biologically, the state of LTBI is not well defined. Indeed, “LTBI” is likely to cover a range of infection states from microbiologically and immunologically largely quiescent MTB infection (reactivatable or not) to subclinical progressive TB disease, to be controlled by the host response or to progress to overt and transmittable disease. Since MTB infections are characterized by this broad range of clinical and subclinical presentations and different clinical outcomes, studies of host biomarkers that can help to differentiate between different disease and treatment states are important. This can for example include biomarkers for early detection of progressive disease to intercept MTB transmission or to personalize TB treatment duration.

In this Research Topic, we therefore aim to provide a comprehensive overview on research regarding biomarkers for Tuberculosis disease. This includes host response signatures and patterns detectable in blood, sputum or other human secretions, which hold diagnostic useful information on in vivo MTB infection activity in the context of TB diagnoses, including early detection of TB disease progression, clinical presentation and outcome of TB treatment.

We welcome the submission of Original Research, Reviews, and Perspective articles covering, but not limited to, the following sub-topics:

1. Identification and characterization of novel biomarkers for assessment of in vivo MTB activity, disease severity and treatment response in human subjects (adult and pediatric) and animals.
2. Characterization and validation of existing biomarkers in different clinical settings and patient populations (for example in HIV infected subjects, children or extrapulmonary TB).
3. Definition of in vivo MTB activity in asymptomatic subjects and animals.
4. Current state, gaps and promises in the translation of biomarker research findings into clinical application.


Topic Editor Dr. Geldmacher is involved in a diagnostic cohort study that receives financial support from Beckmann Coulter. The Other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic theme


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

13 December 2020 Manuscript
31 January 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

13 December 2020 Manuscript
31 January 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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