Failing upwards: Genetics-based strategies to improve antibiotic discovery and efficacy in .

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, Volume: 12
September 15, 2022
Francesca G Tomasi FG, Eric J Rubin EJ

Therapeutic advances in the 20th century significantly reduced tuberculosis (TB) mortality. Nonetheless, TB still poses a massive global health challenge with significant annual morbidity and mortality that has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most common bacterial infectious diseases, successful TB treatment requires months-long regimens, which complicates the ability to treat all cases quickly and effectively. Improving TB chemotherapy by reducing treatment duration and optimizing combinations of drugs is an important step to reducing relapse. In this review, we outline the limitations of current multidrug regimens against TB and have reviewed the genetic tools available to improve the identification of drug targets. The rational design of regimens that sterilize diverse phenotypic subpopulations will maximize bacterial killing while minimizing both treatment duration and infection relapse. Importantly, the TB field currently has all the necessary genetic and analytical tools to screen for and prioritize drug targets based on the vulnerability of essential and non-essential genes in the genome and to translate these findings in models. Combining genetic methods with chemical screens offers a formidable strategy to redefine the preclinical design of TB therapy by identifying powerful new targets altogether, as well as targets that lend new efficacy to existing drugs.