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In lab trials, old antibiotic makes inroads against TB

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Lab-dish tests have raised hopes that a soil bacterium identified nearly 60 years ago could be a "very selective killer" of the germ that causes tuberculosis, a European journal reported on Monday.

Pyridomycin, a natural antibiotic exuded by the bacterium Streptomyces pyridomyceticus, shows promise as a candidate to fight a drug-resistant strain of TB, researchers in Switzerland said.

According to the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) at least half a million of the eight to nine million people who each year develop TB have a strain that is resistant to frontline drugs.

Pyridomcycin works by inhibiting a single gene called InHA which, in mutant strains, helps the TB microbe thwart isoniazid drugs.
 
 

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