The Power of Mycobacterium
The bacterium responsible for Tuberculosis – an historical disease that still has relevance and threats in the twenty first century:
• Extensive pipelines exist for mycobacterium infections, demonstrating the challenges that still exist in effectively treating it today
• Despite the wide-spread knowledge of TB, there remains significant demand for better diagnostic tests across the world, as this report illustrates with the growing developments and markets
• The WHO estimates that the largest number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases in 2008 occurred in the South-East Asia Region, which accounted for 34% of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of the South-East Asia Region with over 350 cases per 100 000 population.
• An estimated 1.3 million people died from TB in 2008. The highest number of deaths was in the South-East Asia Region, while the highest mortality per capita was in the Africa Region.
• Until 50 years ago, there were no medicines to cure TB. Now, strains that are resistant to a single drug have been documented in every country surveyed; what is more, strains of TB resistant to all major anti-TB drugs have emerged. Drug-resistant TB is caused by inconsistent or partial treatment. A particularly dangerous form of drug-resistant TB is multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), which is defined as the disease caused by TB bacilli resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful anti-TB drugs.
• Private-public partnerships have considerably contributed to establish a tuberculosis vaccine and drug pipeline. So far, there is no approved vaccine for tuberculosis. Now, several vaccines are in clinical development and further in preclinical stages. Small molecule therapeutics are also in clinical and preclinical development and significant research efforts are being undertaken to discover novel small molecule therapeutics with a mechanism of action different from currently used treatments. Read more here