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New class of antibiotics for treating drug-resistant tuberculosis discovered

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 10:07
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Washington: A team of researchers has discovered a promising new class of antibiotics that could aid efforts to overcome drug-resistance in tuberculosis (TB).

Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital found that the drugs increased survival of mice infected with TB and were effective against drug-resistant strains of TB.

The antibiotics, called spectinamides, were created by changing the chemical structure of an existing antibiotic, spectinomycin, which does not work against TB.

In multiple trials of mice with both active and chronic TB infections, researchers report that one version of the new drug-an analog known as 1599-was as good as or better than current TB drugs at reducing levels of the bacteria in the lungs of mice. In addition, 1599 caused no serious side effects.

"This study demonstrates how classic antibiotics derived from natural products can be redesigned to create semi-synthetic compounds to overcome drug resistance," corresponding author Richard Lee said.

"I hope the result will be drugs that are more effective against tuberculosis and offer a faster route to a cure with fewer side effects," Lee added.

The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

First Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 10:07

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