- Tuberculosis (TB) is a pressing global health issue with approximately one third of the world’s population infected by this bacterium. As one of the most dangerous infectious diseases, it has killed approximately 1.7 million people of all ages around the world per year (World Health Organization, 2016). Currently, several drugs are available to treat TB but long term combination therapy is required (up to one year) with up to four drugs. Rifampicin, a bacterial natural product, enabled TB drug development and is still one of the most used drugs. However, there is an urgent need for new chemical entities to combat this disease as resistance to rifampicin and TB drugs is an impending problem. Alarmingly, research and development efforts in pharmaceutical industry to tackle TB have decreased over the recent years. Through natural product screening, the Loesgen Lab aims to find new microbial metabolites from bacterial and fungal strains that are effective against TB and can serve a starting point for drug development.
In this thesis, the Mycobacterium smegmatis assay to screen for anti-tubercular novel natural products was optimized and installed. With the assay, the Loesgen Laboratory is able to select and screen for microorganisms that are able to produce bioactive compounds that can serve as anti-tubercular drug leads.