Treatment of tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis continues to be difficult because of the emergence of drug-resistant strains throughout the world. As the frequency of multiply drug-resistant (MDR) and extremely drug-resistant (XDR) strains increases, the need for new anti-tuberculosis therapeutics has become a major area of concern throughout the world. In addition to pulmonary disease caused by M. tuberculosis, the incidence and prevalence of pulmonary disease caused by the nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) has risen to alarming levels; particularly amongst elderly women. Treatment of disease caused by the NTM requires multiple drug cocktails with their attendent side effects, and even then illness may continue unabated. There is a simply a desperate need for antibiotics for the treatment of mycobacterial diseases.
Dinitro-thiophene and 4-chloro-nitro-thiazolides have been shown to have strong antibiotic action against nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), including Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium abscessus, Mycobacterium chelonae, Mycobacterium marinum, and Mycobacterium smegmatis. In as much as the novel drugs attack a novel, heretofore unexploited target in the mycobacteria, these drugs offer an opportunity for development of new anti-tuberculosis and anti-NTM antibiotics.