Researcher receives grant for TB research

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Sep 30, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Corvallis, Ore. -- A biomedical researcher with the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study a possible treatment for tuberculosis.

The grant went to Dr. Luiz Bermudez, a microbiology professor and head of the college's biomedical sciences department.

The grant will allow Bermudez, an infectious-disease expert with more than 25 years' experience in TB research, to study how a common treatment for malaria called mefloquine may be used to treat tuberculosis.

Bermudez discovered mefloquine could kill the mycobacteria that cause tuberculosis six years ago, while conducting a drug-screening study funded by the National Institutes of Health to find existing medicines that are effective against all types of mycobacteria.

The drug produces severe side effects in some people, and further testing needs to be done before it could be administered to TB patients.

While TB is curable, about 1.5 million people die from it each year, and drug-resistant strains are on the rise, according to the World Health Organization.