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Global Threat of
Difficult-to-Treat Infections

a growing concern

Difficult-to-treat infections are a growing concern around the world. One of the most well-known of these infections, Tuberculosis, is a major health problem, which affects approximately 25% of the human population and kills 1.6m people per year. One of the main obstacles in the cure and eradication of TB is antibiotic resistance. There are roughly half a million new cases of drug-resistant TB per year, with an alarming increase of extensive or untreatable drug-resistant cases.

The current antibiotic treatments for TB are long and complex and do not completely clear the infection, leading to relapse and drug resistance. Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) and Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) TB treatments are longer, more toxic and less effective. Current drugs are incompatible with HIV therapy, contributing to comorbidity.

For more information, read the World Health Organization’s 2022 Global Tuberculosis Report.

Treatment Opportunities

To cure and eradicate TB, the most significant hurdle to overcome is antibiotic resistance. There is a need for shorter, simpler, and more effective treatments with new modes of action.

An alternative approach is to inhibit Mtb virulence factors, thus compromising infection persistence. Mtb promotes its own survival by secreting virulence factors, which block the natural immune response and prevent host macrophages (the white blood cells that Mtb hide in) being able to kill the bacteria.

Professor Lydia Tabernero and her team have developed potent small molecule inhibitors that target critical virulence factors and represent a novel therapeutic mode of action to treat TB.