Fighting Tuberculosis

Posted on December 2, 2007  Comments (2)

Signaling an End to TB by Kathleen M. Wong

Once routinely treated with cheap antibiotics, TB is poised to make a terrifying comeback. More and more, doctors in developing nations are finding patients infected with strains of TB invulnerable to all but a handful of extremely expensive, exotic drugs. Worldwide, TB already infects one in every three people and sickens one in ten. Without new methods to stop the spread of drug-resistant strains, the cost of treating this ancient human pathogen could bankrupt even the most prosperous economies.

TB could, in theory, develop resistance to this new class of drugs, too. But Alber thinks he can skew the odds to favor humans. Identifying a drug capable of knocking out several TB enzymes at once could make it next to impossible for the bacterium to evolve resistance on multiple fronts.

Though TB is a daunting foe, Alber remains confident about the prospects of beating the disease. “As a bacterium, it should be easier to treat than HIV or malaria. Those kinds of diseases-caused by viruses and protozoans-we generally don’t know how to cure,” Alber says. “From a scientific perspective, TB is a simpler problem.”

Good luck, it may be easier but it still isn’t easy. Related: Tuberculosis Risk‘Virtually untreatable’ TBExtensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB)TB Pandemic Threat

2 Responses to “Fighting Tuberculosis”

  1. Koozie
    December 3rd, 2007 @ 6:27 am

    mycobacteria are usually easier to treat than viruses, Tb divides every 16 to 20 hours, unlike viruses which are way faster

    The rise in HIV infections and the neglect of TB control programs have enabled a resurgence of tuberculosis.

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Searching for More Effective Tuberculosis Drugs
    February 1st, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

    […] Fighting Tuberculosis – TB Pandemic Threat – Extensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB) – Virtually untreatable TB […]

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