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Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a communicable disease caused by an infectious bacterial pathogen called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which typically replicates in the lungs (pulmonary) but can affect other areas too. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one third of the world’s population is infected with Mtb and 10 million people developed TB in 2018 with 1.4 million deaths globally. 

In our research group, TB has been recognized as one of three priority diseases for drug research and development. The expanding threat of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), co-infection with HIV, existence of LTBI and the extensive treatment regimen has prompted urgent calls for new approaches to TB control, in line with the global requirements, our research in the development of anti-TB drugs aim to: 

  • Shorten the duration of treatment by developing drugs that are more potent than existing ones. 

  • Target MDR and XDR strains of Mtb 

  • Compatibility with ART 

  • Simplify treatment by reducing the pill burden and dosing frequency. 

  • Decrease drug-drug interactions with no antagonism to other TB drugs 

  • Kill Mtb in its different physiological states, including LTBI. 

Our research highlight focusses on Mtb metabolism (a key component of the bacterial system), exploration of the possibilities of enhancing the killing rate of Mtb by standard anti-TB drugs, reducing the emergence of resistance and dormancy and the establishment a novel drug screening approach in Mtb biology. Details of our TB research can be found in our publications [http://www.kellychibaleresearch.uct.ac.za/2020-0]