Indian scientist's discovery may lead to TB drug breakthrough | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian scientist's discovery may lead to TB drug breakthrough

An Indian scientist has discovered a molecule which he claims can be a harbinger for a single drug therapy to treat tuberculosis and replace the current costly multi-drug treatment for the killer disease.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2009 11:08 IST

An Indian scientist has discovered a molecule which he claims can be a harbinger for a single drug therapy to treat tuberculosis and replace the current costly multi-drug treatment for the killer disease.

"TB bacteria has a complex coat over its surface which is unique. We, through our research, have been trying find the enzyme that helps in forming the upper layer of the bacterium," Rajesh Gokhale of the National Institute of Immunology told PTI here.

A team of researchers led by Gokhale found that the new molecule hits four of the bacterium crucial metabolic pathways at the same time, weakening and ultimately destroying the pathogen.

"Right now, tuberculosis patients take a cocktail of four drugs and each inhibits a single enzyme," said Gokhale, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research scholar.

"Targeting several enzymes at the same time is a much more efficient approach. Theoretically, patients wouldn't have to take several drugs, they could just take one."

But the research, which is at the preliminary test tube level, needs funding for the next step. "The enzymes have to be tested on animals for the new findings to turn into drugs for human use," said Gokhale.