Divide Slow, Detect Different
Jurriaan de Steenwinkel of the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands together with Eric Nuermberger of Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. will combine expertise to develop a robust, preclinical mouse model of latent tuberculosis (TB) together with a molecular assay for measuring candidate drug activity to boost drug development. Reducing latent TB infections is essential to meet the goal of the World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy but current drugs have limited effect and measuring the activity of candidate compounds in latent infections is challenging. Successfully developing new drugs also requires improved preclinical models that identify drug candidates more likely to be effective in the clinic. They will combine their paucibacillary murine TB model with their first-in-class RS ratio assay, which quantifies rRNA synthesis in the causative Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and test its value for identifying new drugs that can more rapidly and effectively cure patients also with latent infections.