PerspectiveInfectious Disease

More than just bugs in spit

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Science  08 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6235, pp. 633-634
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2886

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The development of new drugs for tuberculosis (TB) is not for the faint of heart. In addition to all the typical hurdles to developing a new anti-infective, additional complications result from the complex pathology induced by the disease. Because the bacillus is surrounded by a thick, waxy coat, hit rates in whole-cell screens are typically low; the resulting hits are typically so lipophilic that they do not offer good chemical starting points. Despite extensive research efforts, no TB drug has been developed using target-based approaches. Advances in imaging at both a macroscopic and microscopic level offer new insights and strategies for getting urgently needed new drugs to the clinic.