New TB drugs

Related source : MedPage Today

Scientists Make TB Bug Suicidal

Scientists have identified a new class of drug target that tricks tuberculosis bacteria into suicidal self-poisoning. New therapies are urgently required to control the tuberculosis pandemic. Even in the UK cases are on the rise.

“With the advent of antibiotics, TB became treatable and at one point eradication was believed possible,” says Dr Steph Bornemann from the John Innes Centre.

“But TB has re-emerged as a major global health threat due to poverty, a deadly synergy with HIV and the emergence of drug resistant strains that are virtually untreatable with current therapies.”

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the cause of tuberculosis and the leading cause of death worldwide from bacterial pathogens. It claims about two million lives every year.

Scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University (Einstein) in New York identified the role that an enzyme called GlgE plays in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The two research groups made the discovery independently using different approaches. Together the scientists have identified a four-step metabolic pathway involving GlgE that represents a new target for anti-tuberculosis drugs.

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Editorial Comment – Tuberculosis remains a threat to Malaysians. Although multi-drug resistant TB is fortunately still not widespread, tuberculosis continues to wreck havoc in the lives of many. With HIV still raging and the insurmountable problem of illegal immigration, the problem of tuberculosis is here to stay.

The treatment of tuberculosis remains a cumbersome and prolonged affair. DOTS programme was implemented to ensure compliance of anti TB drugs. This is of paramount importance, not only for the health of the patient but to ensure that multi resistant strains do not emerge.

The development of new TB drugs have stagnated for decades now. It is thought that prior to the HIV epidemic, TB was a relic of the past. Thus many richer nations felt that finding newer TB medications will certainly not be profitable. It was a problem of less developed nations.

This unfortunate mindset has left the development of newer treatment strategies for TB in the lurch.

So the above article is a refreshing change.


The mission of the Working Group on New TB Drugs is to ensure stakeholders in TB Drug Development from academia, government, industry, non-profit organizations, and patients themselves, are working together to facilitate and speed the development of new drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis.

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