Centenary of the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences

Approaches to target identification and validation for tuberculosis drug discovery: a UCT perspective

Digby F Warner, Valerie Mizrahi


Tuberculosis (TB) disproportionately affects a few high-burden countries including South Africa. In these regions, basic TB research is rare, endemic countries being valued primarily as sites for drug trials and clinical studies. Our basic mycobacterial research focuses on current approaches to drug target identification and validation within the context of international trends in TB drug discovery. Increased funding for TB drug development globally prompted a significant shift in the composition of drug discovery consortia, with academic laboratories assuming a major role in collaboration with industrial partners. This hybrid model holds promise for the expansion of local programmes, especially where actively supported by government. However, the application of industry-standard business practices to research projects involving biology and chemistry expertise demands a greater appreciation of the differences between a chemically, versus biologically, validated drug target, and of the factors informing these differences.

Authors' affiliations

Digby F Warner, MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town

Valerie Mizrahi, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town

Full Text



Tuberculosis; Drug Discovery

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(6):457-460.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-11-17
Date published: 2012-03-02

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