The 3rd Annual Symposium: Innovations in anti-mycobacterial Drug Discovery, organised by members of the NRF CRP network TELMabNet (Targeting energy of life for the development of drug combinations to eradicate antibiotic-tolerant Mycobacterium abscessus, a clinical nightmare, Network), will feature presentations from speakers around the world who have made significant advances in TB and NTM research and drug discovery. The goal of this symposium is to present novel concepts and to provide a platform for vibrant and open discussions between industry, senior scientists, postdoctoral fellows and students from academia.
Mycobacteria can be categorised into three main groups: tuberculosis (TB) causing mycobacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mtb), leprotic mycobacteria, and non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Approximately one quarter of the World’s population is infected with Mtb in latent form. TB is of enhanced concern when combined with other diseases, such as HIV and Covid-19. Similar concerns apply to NTM infections, which are increasing in their prevalence, morbidity and mortality and frequently surpass the global incidence of TB.
NTM commonly cause pulmonary infections, particularly among patients with structural airway diseases like cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. Additionally, NTM can lead to lymphadenitis, skin and soft tissue infections, cardiac infections, bone and joint infections, and disseminated disease. The chemotherapy for both Mtb and NTM infections is lengthy, often toxic, and relies on parenteral drugs with poor cure rates.
Mtb and NTM can be considered multidrug-resistant superbugs. Therefore, there is an urgent need for more efficacious, well-tolerated, and oral antibiotics optimized for treating NTM diseases and TB.