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Cure to TB could lie in bacteria found underwater

The search for a cure for deadly infectious disease like Tuberculosis has led a researcher for the US deep underwater.

Brian Murphy, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is collecting actinomycete bacteria from water throughout the world in a hunt for new antibiotics.

He and Scott Franzblau, director of UIC`s Institute for Tuberculosis Research, are lead investigators on a new, three-year 1.1 million-dollar grant from the Defense Department to find compounds to fight tuberculosis, a disease that killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide in 2011.

As a killer, tuberculosis-caused by a bacterium that most often attacks the lungs-is second only to HIV among infectious agents, according to the World Health Organization.

The bacteria lie dormant in about one-third of the population, and 8 million new cases are reported annually.

US military personnel face a much higher risk of tuberculosis than American civilians, due to their frequent deployment in developing countries where infection rates are higher, Murphy said.
 
 

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