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Keywords:

  • drug candidates;
  • drug discovery;
  • genomics;
  • screening;
  • tuberculosis

Abstract

The expectation that genomics would result in new therapeutic interventions for infectious diseases remains unfulfilled. In the post-genomic era, the decade immediately following the availability of the genome sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, tuberculosis (TB) drug discovery relied heavily on the target-based approach but this proved unsuccessful leading to a return to whole cell screening. Genomics underpinned screening by providing knowledge and many enabling technologies, most importantly whole genome resequencing to find resistance mutations and targets, and this resulted in a selection of leads and new TB drug candidates that are reviewed here. Unexpectedly, many new targets were found to be ‘promiscuous’ as they were inhibited by a variety of different compounds. In the post-post-genomics era, more advanced technologies have been implemented and these include high-content screening, screening for inhibitors of latency, the use of conditional knock-down mutants for validated targets and siRNA screens. In addition, immunomodulation and pharmacological manipulation of host functions are being explored in an attempt to widen our therapeutic options.