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Tuberculosis (TB) Research Goals

NIAID supports research in the following areas to improve TB diagnosis, control, and prevention.

Basic Research

  • Encourage and support meritorious investigator-initiated research directed toward improving knowledge about TB and how it afflicts humans.
  • Target research to combine fundamental science and translational studies for developing and evaluating new healthcare interventions to combat and prevent multidrug-resistant (MDR) and drug-sensitive TB, as emphasized in the strategic plan for NIAID Category C biodefense/emerging infections.
  • Provide, through contract support, high quality standardized research materials to qualified investigators to facilitate fundamental and translational research in TB, provide expertise in TB immunology, genomics, and post-genomics, and target identification and tools development to help select and characterize new TB healthcare interventions.

Read about TB Basic Research.

Vaccine Development and Evaluation

  • Support fundamental and clinical research leading to the development and testing of an effective new vaccine(s) for the prevention and control of TB.
  • Provide, through contract support, facilities and resources for screening TB vaccine candidates in appropriate animal models and, as part of NIAID public-private partnerships, support the development and optimization of advanced stage vaccine candidates for preclinical and investigational new drug enabling studies.
  • Encourage research to enhance the effectiveness of the immune response to intracellular pathogenic organisms such as mycobacteria or related and model organisms.

Read about TB Prevention: Vaccine Development.

Adjuvant/Antigen Identification

  • Promote vaccine-relevant research to identify dominant mycobacterial antigens and novel adjuvants that induce protective cellular immune responses.
  • Support research on the identification of genes expressed in immune responses to mycobacterial infection, especially soluble proteins that might be used in vaccination or treatment of the disease.


  • Support the development of improved diagnostic tools for early diagnosis and monitoring of infection and disease progression for drug-resistant and drug-sensitive TB.
  • Promote research on the development of immunological reagents for early diagnosis and monitoring of disease.

Read about TB Diagnostic Research.


Support research, including the development of new molecular tools, to assess the factors influencing the occurrence, distribution, and transmission of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strains.

Animal Models

Support research to improve animal models of infection and disease for use in the study of virulence and pathogenicity of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant Mtb and for the evaluation of candidate anti-TB therapies and vaccines.

Drug Discovery, Development, and Treatment

  • Provide contract resources for evaluating new candidate antibiotics against Mtb in laboratory assays and in animal models of infection and disease (NIAID Division of AIDS).
  • Support research on mechanisms of drug resistance and activity, early target identification and verification, and clinical testing of prophylactic and therapeutic anti-TB regimens.

Read about Advances in TB Treatment.

Clinical Research on Therapeutic Interventions in HIV/TB

Foster and support clinical research to evaluate and improve effectiveness of regimens for treatment and prophylaxis of Mtb, especially MDR TB, in the setting of HIV co-infection.

Technology Transfer

Accelerate development and commercialization of candidate TB treatments identified through NIAID TB drug screening contracts or otherwise developed at the National Institutes of Health, universities, and nonprofit laboratories.


Promote training to increase the number, and improve the skills, of TB basic and clinical researchers. Read about TB Research Training.

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Last Updated February 22, 2007