Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has become an important health and economic burden, with more than four thousand people succumbing to the disease every day. Thus, there is an urgent need to understand the molecular basis of this pathogen's success in causing disease in humans, in order to develop new drugs superior to conventional drugs available at present. One reason why M. tuberculosis is such a dangerous microbe lies within its ability to survive within infected hosts, thereby efficiently circumventing host immune responses. Over the past few years, a number of mechanisms have been unravelled that are utilized by M. tuberculosis to survive within hosts and to avoid immune defence mechanisms. Several of these mechanisms have been described in this communication that may be useful for the development of novel compounds to treat tuberculosis.