Catching Breath: The Making and Unmaking of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis has twisted through the millennia hand-in-hand with humanity, leaving its marks on our culture, our history and our DNA, from the birth of Homo sapiens right up to the present day. TB continues to kill more people than any other infectious agent; it may be an ancient disease, but TB is not a disease of history.
In Catching Breath, Kathryn Lougheed asks what has made Mycobacterium tuberculosis such a successful bacterium, and how we can use this knowledge to consign it to the history books. We follow its path through the ages, from its time gathering strength as a latent infection of hunter-gatherers to its rise alongside human urbanisation and industrialisation, and learn just how connected human history is to TB - from an Ancient Egyptian murder mystery and the rumours of the first vampires to a tragedy set in the Amazon rainforest.
Catching Breath - the story of one of the world's oldest diseases - looks at the hidden biology behind the interactions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with its human host, and shows how drug resistance, the HIV epidemic, poverty and inequality work together to ensure that TB remains one of the most serious problems in world medicine.
If we can understand the makings of TB, then maybe we can find a way to unmake it.