Updated on 2 May 2012
What are the major hindrances faced by you while doing TB research until date?
I am in an academic setting. This means, I am very well suited to undertake creative research but in a rather small group setting. When we find something that requires a setting that is both labor and resource-intensive (for example, to synthesize and screen a large number of compounds to develop a new drug), we are not able to do this readily. In addition, there is a large amount of administrative work that I have to do to run my research program, which is the least suitable way to use my time and, therefore, slows the scientific research.
What are the programs in your pipeline? What are your objectives for the future?
I have only two research programs, including identification and characterization of novel essential genes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and developing a drug to target the peptidoglycan layer of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
What are your views on the tuberculosis-related R&D, activities and trends in Asia?
Asia has tremendous potential to do TB-related R&D. It has both financial and intellectual resources.
What are the most important concerns that continue to be associated with the treatment and drug development of TB?
My most important concerns are that the existing treatment of TB takes too long for it to be effective. Also, we need new drugs to treat infections that are resistant to existing drugs. Furthermore, development of new drugs requires both intellectual capacity (expertise), will power and commitment from funding bodies.
You have been bestowed several honors over the years. What do you have to say regarding these?
I am honored for the support. I am glad to be working on a disease that is a major global public health issue and on scientific puzzles that would be exciting to solve. Please note that TB is an infectious disease that anyone can get by being physically close to an individual who is infected. Almost all individuals who develop TB get it because they happen to be in the wrong place or are not informed or because preventative measures were not in place. In other words, a person who gets infected did not do anything wrong to get infected. Therefore, it is our common responsibility to understand and work towards helping someone whose condition is not of his or her own making. Anyone or any group that develops new diagnostics or preventative measures and cures will make a tremendous contribution to human health.