Ethambutol is a drug used, alone or in combination with other drugs, to treat tuberculosis and other infections. It is sold under the trade names Myambutol (X-GEN Pharmaceuticals) and Servambutol (Sandoz). Although it is effective, it has several adverse side effects, such as vision, liver, and allergy problems.
L. L. Kiessling (University of Wisconsin–Madison), in her Fred Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Lecture at the spring 2015 ACS National Meeting in Denver, described ethambutol as “a not great drug”. She advocated targeting microbial cell-surface carbohydrates to combat mycobacterial diseases. In particular, she suggested galactofuranoses as particularly attractive targets for protein antibiotics.
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