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New drug to tackle TB menace tested

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2013 01:15 IST
Vanita Srivastava
Vanita Srivastava
Hindustan Times
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A new drug, found to be effective on mice, has shown promising signs in treating tuberculosis, reports international journal Nature.

The report’ Discovery of Q203, a potent clinical candidate for the treatment of tuberculosis’ published in Nature Medicine on Sunday, elaborates how the synthetic antibacterial compound inhibits the synthesis of ATP — a source of energy for most of the cell’s enzymes — and thereby blocks tuberculosis growth.

A team led by Kevin Pethe, a microbiologist at the Pasteur Institute Korea in Seoul, investigated more than 120,000 compounds over five years, infecting mouse immune cells with Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the bacterium that causes TB — and observing whether it inhibited bacterial growth.

The molecule belongs to a new class of synthetic chemicals with no similarities to existing drugs.

The drug termed Q203 is highly effective against multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB). If safe and effective in humans, it could help to combat a disease that killed 1.4 million people in 2011, the journal says.

“New therapeutic strategies are needed to combat the TB pandemic and the spread of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) forms of the disease,” Kevin says adding “The last decade has seen the discovery of new agent classes for curbing TB, however, given the high attrition rate of drug candidates during clinical development and emergence of drug resistance, discovery of new clinical candidates is needed.”