Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria in a stained electron microscopic image.
Source: Public Health Image Library / Janice Haney Carr
The pathogens mainly attack the lungs. The consequences are constant coughs with sputum, weight loss and profuse night sweats. In serious cases, the sputum is blood-stained and underweight as well as severe anemia occur. If left untreated, the disease often leads to death.Drugs that are able to cure tuberculosis have already been available since the middle of the 20th century. However, the treatment is complicated: It takes several months and requires a combination of at least four substances. Furthermore, several strains of the pathogen have become resistant to the drugs. We don't have a lot of viable alternatives, since no new drugs have been developed for decades.
Gunnar Bartsch | idw
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