Researchers tracked the developing drug resistance of one particular strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis over 12 years. They found that at the time of the 2001 adoption of the DOT+ strategy for multi-drug resistant strains, the strain was already resistant to one or more of the drugs mandated by that strategy, thus allowing the strain to survive and develop resistance to additional drugs.
The continued use of antibiotics is not the answer to defeating the disease. The development of new treatment strategies may be what would be required to be able to continually battle the emergence of the now drug resistant stains of tuberculosis. The “discovery of copper-repressing protein in bacterium” may be a new strategy to defeat this disease.
Scientists have known that when macrophages - the host's immune cells - swallow an invading bacterium, they dump excessive amounts of copper onto the invader in an effort to kill it. While all cells need copper to function, too much of the metal ion causes cell death.
"But the invaders fight back with their own defense," says Adel Talaat, a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. "They block the excess copper."
As this may hopefully be a new way to fight bacterial infections, of not only tuberculosis, the question now is how to trick the bacterium to forgo the mechanisms that prevent excessive uptake of copper.