The world is in need of more effective approaches to controlling tuberculosis. The development of improved control strategies has been hampered by deficiencies in the tools available for detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis and defining the dynamic consequences of the interaction of M. tuberculosis with its human host. Key needs include a highly sensitive, specific nonsputum diagnostic; biomarkers predictive of responses to therapy; correlates of risk for disease development; and host response–independent markers of M. tuberculosis infection. Tools able to sensitively detect and quantify total body M. tuberculosis burden might well be transformative across many needed use cases. Here, we review the current state of the field, paying particular attention to needed changes in experimental paradigms that would facilitate the discovery, validation, and development of such tools.