Research for infection protection

Mycobacterium tuberculosis
(bacterium incl. MDR, XDR, XXDR and TDR)



Drying, freezing, sulphuric acid baths: when other microorganisms have long since been knocked out, mycobacteria survive.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an aerobic, Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium. It belongs to the Mycobacteriaceae family, which also includes Mycobacterium leprae, another human pathogenic bacterium, as well as the Mycobacterium basiliense sp. nov. and Mycobacterium chimaera pathogens, which are relevant for people with lung disease and those that are immunocompromised. Thanks to their special small-pored cell wall, mycobacteria have a higher environmental resistance than many other bacteria.

In most immunocompetent adults, inhaling Mycobacterium tuberculosis results in a latent infection, which is not contagious. However, around 5-15 % of those affected develop pulmonary tuberculosis that requires treatment ("active tuberculosis") and can then pass on the pathogen.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is transmitted primarily via droplets or aerosols (fine droplets carrying the pathogen) in the air.

Tuberculosis infections are among the most prevalent infectious diseases in the world.The already lengthy treatment of tuberculosis is complicated by the increasing resistance of the pathogens to antibiotics. In addition to resistance to at least two first-line antibiotics (MDR = multidrug resistance), extended resistances (XDR = extensive drug resistance, XXDR = extreme drug resistance) right up to complete resistance (TDR = total drug resistance) have also been observed for several years.

» Necessary spectrum of antimicrobial activity