Project Description

Investigating immune biomarkers during the progression of Mycobacterium tuberbulosis infection

Tuberculosis is an important health concern for elephant populations worldwide. Current diagnosis methods detect only active disease, which has limited the ability to study susceptibility, progression from inactive to active forms, and efficacy of available treatments. Recently developed tools to measure biomarkers of immune function in elephant serum provide a unique opportunity to determine how the immune system responds to infection, and to assess current diagnostic and treatment protocols. This project focuses on testing 4 Asian elephants with confirmed infection, collecting serum prior to and during infection and treatment. It is the first longitudinal study of immune function in association with elephant TB and could result in the development of new tools to improve detection rates and management options