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Tuberculosis is an ancient disease that still affects millions of people, largely in developing countries. A startling statistic valued by fundraisers for tuberculosis research is that this devastating disease claims three lives every minute worldwide. Since a major factor underlying this important health threat is the alarming rate at which drug-resistant strains emerge, the search for new therapeutic agents is of urgent concern. The armamentarium currently available for the treatment of tuberculosis is pretty feeble and better drugs are badly needed. Favored targets for antibacterial drugs are the pathogen’s virulence factors (see for example), one reason being that the selection for resistance to such specific inhibitors should be weaker than for –static or –cidal drugs. But beyond that, to understand the infection process we need to have a thorough knowledge of the virulence factors involved and how they operate.

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