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Indian researchers discover new drug to treat TB, HIV


Indian tuberculosis patient Rampal waits to get his medicine at the L.N. J.P. hospital in New Delhi, 23 March 2004.


Prakash Singh

The Chennai-based Tuberculosis Research Center (TRC) announced that it has isolated a molecule that fights both tuberculosis and some strains of HIV, CNN/IBN reports.

Researchers isolated the molecule from a marine microorganism Streptomyces sp found in soil collected near coral reefs off the Rameshwaram coast. They found that the molecule was effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes most forms of TB. The molecule also acts against the B and C strains of HIV, that are the most common. The TRC collaborated with Periyar University and IIT-Madras on the research which first began in 2008.

The next stage of research will involve pre-clinical trials and animal and human testing. So far, the molecule has been tested on human cell lines, and researchers filed a patent application and requested funding after finding that its toxicity was within acceptable levels.

According to the World Health Organization, India accounts for a fifth of the world's TB cases. Each year nearly 2 million people in India develop TB, of which around 0.87 million are infectious cases. It is estimated that annually around 330,000 Indians die due to TB.