• Disseminated Tuberculosis Among Hospitalised HIV Patients in South Africa: A Common Condition that Can Be Rapidly Diagnosed Using Urine-Based Assays

      Kerkhoff, A; Barr, D; Schutz, C; Burton, R; Nicol, M; Lawn, S; Meintjes, G (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-09-07)
      HIV-associated disseminated TB (tuberculosis) has been under-recognised and poorly characterised. Blood culture is the gold-standard diagnostic test, but is expensive, slow, and may under-diagnose TB dissemination. In a cohort of hospitalised HIV patients, we aimed to report the prevalence of TB-blood-culture positivity, performance of rapid diagnostics as diagnostic surrogates, and better characterise the clinical phenotype of disseminated TB. HIV-inpatients were systematically investigated using sputum, urine and blood testing. Overall, 132/410 (32.2%) patients had confirmed TB; 41/132 (31.1%) had a positive TB blood culture, of these 9/41 (22.0%) died within 90-days. In contrast to sputum diagnostics, urine Xpert and urine-lipoarabinomannan (LAM) combined identified 88% of TB blood-culture-positive patients, including 9/9 who died within 90-days. For confirmed-TB patients, half the variation in major clinical variables was captured on two principle components (PCs). Urine Xpert, urine LAM and TB-blood-culture positive patients clustered similarly on these axes, distinctly from patients with localised disease. Total number of positive tests from urine Xpert, urine LAM and MTB-blood-culture correlated with PCs (p < 0.001 for both). PC1&PC2 independently predicted 90-day mortality (ORs 2.6, 95%CI = 1.3-6.4; and 2.4, 95%CI = 1.3-4.5, respectively). Rather than being a non-specific diagnosis, disseminated TB is a distinct, life-threatening condition, which can be diagnosed using rapid urine-based tests, and warrants specific interventional trials.
    • Predictive Modeling Targets Thymidylate Synthase ThyX in Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

      Djaout, K; Singh, V; Boum, Y; Katawera, V; Becker, H F; Bush, N G; Hearnshaw, S J; Pritchard, J E; Bourbon, P; Madrid, P B; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-06-10)
      There is an urgent need to identify new treatments for tuberculosis (TB), a major infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which results in 1.5 million deaths each year. We have targeted two essential enzymes in this organism that are promising for antibacterial therapy and reported to be inhibited by naphthoquinones. ThyX is an essential thymidylate synthase that is mechanistically and structurally unrelated to the human enzyme. DNA gyrase is a DNA topoisomerase present in bacteria and plants but not animals. The current study set out to understand the structure-activity relationships of these targets in Mtb using a combination of cheminformatics and in vitro screening. Here, we report the identification of new Mtb ThyX inhibitors, 2-chloro-3-(4-methanesulfonylpiperazin-1-yl)-1,4-dihydronaphthalene-1,4-dione) and idebenone, which show modest whole-cell activity and appear to act, at least in part, by targeting ThyX in Mtb.