PerspectiveDRUG DISCOVERY

Expanding the anti-TB arsenal

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Science  01 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6426, pp. 457-458
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw5224

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Summary

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of mortality from an infectious agent globally, with 1.6 million deaths and more than 10 million new cases annually (1). Since the 1950s, long-term combination chemotherapy has been the cornerstone of TB control. However, the efficacies of first- and second-line anti-TB agents have been eroded by the evolution of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent. Drug-resistant TB now accounts for 450,000 new TB cases annually, and almost a third of all TB-related deaths are due to antimicrobial resistance (2). Together with the need for shorter regimens (standard treatment for drug-susceptible TB takes 6 months), these statistics identify the development of TB drugs with different mechanisms of action as a health imperative. On page 498 of this issue, Ballinger et al. (3) report an important step in this direction.

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