Scientists claim new TB drug could be cure


Australian scientists on Wednesday claimed to have discovered a protein and were developing a drug that could cure tuberculosis which claims about 1,000 lives daily in India alone. Researchers at Sydney's Centenary Institute said the drug they were developing could cure the disease before it takes hold and save millions of lives worldwide. If the project succeeds, it will be the first new treatment for TB since 1962.

Dr Nick West, Associate Faculty of the Mycobacterial group at Centenary, said: "We have investigated a protein that is essential for TB to survive and we have had some success in developing a drug that will inhibit this protein."

"Our goal over the coming months is to find out the full extent of this drug's potential. If we can figure out a way to treat TB when it's in a latent stage, then we could save millions of lives throughout the world."

Dr Nick West and his team are looking at the genetics of TB in the hope that they would reveal a way to reduce the impact of one of the deadliest diseases in the world.

Dr West said: "When someone is infected with TB, they either become sick immediately or the disease stays inactive, latent¿ Unfortunately, the antibiotics we use to fight TB aren't effective against latent TB and can only be used when the disease becomes active¿ This is a major problem as one out of 10 people who have latent TB will develop the active disease, becoming sick and contagious."

Tuberculosis is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria in humans.It usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, about 5,000 Indians develop TB and nearly 1,000 people die from it every day — or two deaths in every three minutes.

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