This Week in TB R&D – 28 September 2010

27 Sep 2010
by Working Group

Dear readers, please accept our apologies for missing the past couple of Tuesday R&D posts on the latest developments and meetings taking place in the TB R&D arena. There have been several important changes afoot and we are in the process of hammering out the final details so things will be moving smoothly again.

Here are some of the recent interesting R&D articles we’ve come across this week: one regarding the use of cockroaches [see below] to identify new antibiotics, and the other a New England Journal of Medicine report on further use and validation of the Cepheid GeneXpert to identify MDR-TB patients from five different trial sites in 4 different countries.

Personally, I have embarked on my first of several month-long trips to Durban, South Africa, to work with Dr. Bill Bishai, new director of Kwa-Zulu Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH) and co-chair for the WGND. During this visit, I will be visiting several clinical facilities in South Africa and look forward to sharing my observations about the progress, challenges and innovations I encounter.

We also invite you to share about papers you have recently read and think are interesting and worth commenting. We welcome briefings from recent TB meetings & conferences you may have attended as well as suggestions of key upcoming events that we should bring to the attention of the broader TB community. Thank you for following; we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Lisan Parker
Working Group on New TB Drugs

And now a word from our guest blogger, the TB Alliance’s Nicholas Garrett about cockroaches:

Every so often, I’ve run into the exterminator in various parts of the office, making sure TB Alliance stays rodent and insect free. Well, the next time you’re in the pantry and a cockroach comes out to ask what’s for lunch, don’t scream and don’t squash it. Pick its brain! According to researchers at The University of Nottingham, brain tissue extracted from cockroaches and locusts killed more than 90% of drug-resistant staphylococcus Aureus and E.coli, without harming human cells in lab tests. So, if I’m understanding this correctly, the cure to MDR/XDR-TB could potentially be crawling around our office?! Awesome!! Anyone interested in testing this theory, please leave open food in and around the R&D department.

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