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The Consumer of Humans

Abdullahi Tsanni

For decades, a dearth of scientific research, inadequate treatment and diagnostic tools have slowed progress in the fight to control tuberculosis globally. Scientists have developed important drugs, such as isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide, against the disease. But these drugs must be taken for several months, are sometimes ineffective, and can cause debilitating side effects. What’s more, if people don’t finish their treatments, it can lead to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a form of the disease that is resistant to two of the four common drugs against TB, or, even more worryingly, extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), a form of the disease against which broader anti-TB drugs are powerless. Now, advances in immunology, chemistry, and biomolecular engineering are helping scientists to gain better insight into the complex cellular processes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the disease it causes. This could pave the way for the development of innovative diagnostics, vaccines, and new treatments for these tuberculosis superbugs. This thesis examines why tuberculosis kill millions of people till this day and scientists’ best efforts alone can’t win the war.

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MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing offers an innovative academic program that applies critical analysis, collaborative research, and design across a variety of media arts, forms, and practices.

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