New compound can treat resistant TB strains

March 15th, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 15 (IANS) A new compound can prevent active TB in those infected with its latent form, according to medical researchers. The drug could also be useful in treating TB patients by reducing the duration of treatment and in fighting resistant strains.

“With each new case of antibiotic resistance, doctors are losing ground against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other infectious diseases,” explained the study’s co-author Carl Nathan and Rees Pritchett of Weill Cornell Medical College.

This new approach fights the pathogen in a way that’s different from conventional antibiotics. “We have found compounds that only kill M. tuberculosis when they are not dividing.

“This lack of replication is a characteristic of latent bacteria, which are tough to eradicate with existing antibiotics and ultimately play a huge role in the epidemic’s spread,” they said.

TB kills over 1.6 million people worldwide each year, according to the world health organisation. About a third of the people are believed infected with latent or non-replicating M. tuberculosis.

Currently, it can take six months to eradicate most non-dividing bacteria, and adherence to that long a regimen is difficult for many patients. But if they stop treatment prematurely, drug-resistant bacteria can emerge.

The new findings were published in online issue of Cell Host & Microbe.

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