Researchers in New Zealand, the USA and Germany have made a discovery about the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB) that could pave the way to new drugs to fight the disease.
The study, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), aimed to understand why mycobacteria (the family of bacteria that includes the species that causes TB) can survive for long periods without, or with a very low supply of, oxygen.
The researchers found that, the bacteria that causes TB seems to use hydrogen as an energy source rather than oxygen if there is little or no oxygen available..
They are now researching whether they can target the cells by starving them of their supply of hydrogen.
If successful, this method could open up new options for the treatment of inactive TB infections, which affect around one-third of the world’s population.
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