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Life sciences/Microbiology/Bacteriology/Bacteria/Gram positive bacteria/Actinobacteria/Mycobacteria


Excavation of the St. Mary Magdalen leprosarium in Winchester, UK, with in situ skeletons.
[Courtesy of University of Winchester]

Researchers have uncovered a new way that some bacteria survive when under siege by antibiotics.

This survival mechanism is fundamentally different from other known bacterial strategies. Understanding it may be useful for designing drugs that target hard-to-treat bacterial strains such as drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), an increasingly urgent public health problem. The study is based on Mycobacterium smegmatis—a cousin of the microbe that causes TB—and its response to the TB drug isoniazid.

A new tuberculosis vaccine boosts the effectiveness of a childhood vaccine and protects against the growing worldwide problem of drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria, reports a new study in Science Translational Medicine.

The vaccine is now being developed for clinical testing in humans, and if successful will help protect against the growing army of drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria and disease that many consider a global public health emergency.