2021-03-24

World Tuberculosis Day 2021: New drugs for old bugs

"Goal is to identify lead structure for new antibiotic in three years"

Every year, about 10 million people become infected with tuberculosis and 1.4 million die from it. This makes tuberculosis not only one of the most widespread infectious diseases, but also the deadliest. Similar to malaria or HIV, the prevalence of tuberculosis is strongly dependent on social factors; it is considered a classic disease of the poor. In addition to a lack of medical care, other problems hinder the containment of tuberculosis, such as antibiotic resistance and undesirable drug-drug interactions.

Scanning electron microscope image of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (in pink).Scanning electron microscope image of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. © HZI / Manfred RohdeThe department Microbial Natural Products at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), a joint site of Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) with Saarland University, is exploring soil bacteria for new active substances to solve these problems. The annual World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 commemorates the discovery of the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Robert Koch on this day in 1882.

Portrait of Jennifer Herrmann, scientistJennifer Herrmann, scientist in the Department of "Microbial Natural Products" at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS). © HIPS/Sari Rasheed On the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day, Jennifer Herrmann, scientist in the Department Microbial Natural Products at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), talks about the epidemiology of the disease and her current research into new active substances against the causative agent of tuberculosis.

Interview with the drug researcher Jennifer Hermann

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