Researchers at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with the University of Missouri-Columbia, have made a ground-breaking discovery into why the bacteria causing tuberculosis and leprosy have become resistant to antibiotics. Rifampicin is a popular antibiotic used to treat both tuberculosis and leprosy that prevents the bacterial growth that causes these diseases. However, a problem has arisen due to antibiotic resistance: both bacteria have been found to produce an enzyme called rifampicin monooxygenase, which lowers drug effectiveness. While researchers already knew that rifampicin monoxygenase inactivated rifampicin, they did not understand how, until now.
Resistance to antibiotics puts public health at risk because current drugs become ineffective in treatment, prevention and mitigation of the spread of dangerous diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that more than 10 million people around the world had tuberculosis in 2016. The research done at Virginia Tech will lead to the continued development of effective antibiotics which will stay ahead of emerging resistance.
To learn more about this research and Virginia Tech, read more here.More From: Virginia Tech
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