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Worldwide, approximately one in four people is infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and while overall New Zealand has relatively low rates of TB, Māori and Pacific people are eight times more likely to be affected than Pākehā.
One of the most puzzling characteristics of the TB bacterium is how it manages to survive so long in the body before becoming active. It can live but remain dormant in its host for more than ten years before symptoms occur. In humans, this usually happens when the immune system is compromised or weakened in some way.
Host - TB - Bacterium - Food - Form
In a host, the TB bacterium needs food to survive, mostly in the form of different types of carbon. Scientists have long known that an enzyme within the bacterium allows it to utilize different sources of carbon, depending on what is available.
A team of researchers from the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington focused their work on the structure and function of this enzyme which, although discovered more than 20 years ago, has not been...
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