LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- A group of researchers at the UW-La Crosse has discovered an antibiotic that kills the bacteria causing tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is an often-fatal infection. It typically attacks the lungs.
Dr. Bill Schwan, a professor of microbiology, said TB affects roughly 1/3 of the world's population. Schwan said that translates to roughly 2.3 billion people.
Schwan, as well as a team of undergraduate and faculty researchers, is now in what he said is called the "discovery phase." They're still trying to understand how the newly-found antibiotic functions.
"We're trying to determine how the drug actually works to kill the bacteria," he said.
Following the discovery phase, Schwan said the drug would need to be tested on animals, and then on people using three, separate clinical trials, before an application for approval can be sent to the FDA.
Schwan said it's important the medical field continue to innovate and look for new cures and preventative treatments for TB. He said many strains of TB have become resistant to the current crop of antibiotics.
"As every year seems to progress, we seem to lose another class of antibiotics," Schwan said.