Tuberculosis is one of the world’s deadliest diseases and has overtaken HIV for the number of deaths annually per infective agent. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacteria which causes tuberculosis, relies on its unique cell envelope to infect and survive in host organisms. Currently, antibiotics target processes and proteins within Mtb cells and rely on entrance through complex cell wall structures. Resistant strains of Mtb have developed due to the current drugs targeting single proteins and patients failing to complete the full treatment course. Consequentially, no new Mtb drugs have been produced in the past 40 years.
Researchers in the School of Life Sciences and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick have identified a new class of antibacterial drugs including a novel compound which is active against Mtb. These boronic acid containing compound binds to external receptors on the Mtb cell wall. This disrupts cell processes which are essential for functioning and survival. This has the potential to form the basis for a new class of treatments tackling tuberculosis.