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New Drug Candidate for Tuberculosis

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New Drug Candidate for Tuberculosis

Scientists investigate new drug to treat resistant  tuberculosis. The new drug had promising results so far and, after having completed the clinical trials, expects FDA approval to be tested on humans. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is estimated that one-third of the world population is infected with tuberculosis and that there are 8 million new cases of active tuberculosis per year. TB mainly affects the lungs but can also affect other organs such as the kidneys, bones etc. Pott disease is an example of extrapulmonary TB infection, in which thoracic vertebrae are affected.

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Even if in the past it was a life-threatening infection, now tuberculosis is an infection that can be treated and cured. Many infections with Mycobacterium tuberculosis are asymptomatic, but there are times when the disease becomes active. Malnutrutia, smoking, alcoholism, diabetes is among the risk factors for tuberculosis. TB symptoms are chronic cough, weight loss, night sweats, anorexia. Cough may be dry, but sometimes there is a cough with bloody sputum.
Transmission of infection is by air through aerosol droplets from infected people. The infection is transmitted more easily in isolated rooms. It should be remembered that only people with active infection are contagious,  and not those with latent infection.

As far as TB treatment is concerned, it should consist of at least three effective antituberculosis drugs and should  last few months (6-9 months). The current treatment of tuberculosis include so-called first-line drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin, etc.) and second line drugs(streptomycin, ethambutol, etc.). The most common drugs are isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. Also, during treatment the patient should be watched and monitored bacteriologically. If it is multigrug resistant tuberculosis, the treatment lasts for 18-24 months. Now researchers investigate a new drug to treat resistant forms of tuberculosis. TBA-354 is the first drug developed in 50 years and it is the first designed to treat resistant forms of tuberculosis. During clinical trials, it turned out that TBA-354 has a higher efficiency and potency than other for drug, PA-824.

Professor Bill Denny, Co-Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre ACSRC and the principal investigator, said the TBA-354 is an improved version of PA-824 and has increased activity against resistant strains. In addition, the use of TBA-354 has the advantage of shortening the duration of treatment. TBA -354 is a nitroimidazole and was designed by researchers from the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC) and those from Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery in collaboration with the TB Alliance and the University of Illinois at Chicago.