Tuberculosis (TB), one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs and its spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air and anyone who inhales it may be infected. TB is a curable and preventable disease. However, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there were 600 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug.


Recent studies by the research team of University of London and the University College of London suggested that, the Persian Shallot locally known as ‘Mooseer’ by the Iranians, a delicacy and staple food has a natural source of antibiotics that could help fight against antibiotic resistance of tuberculosis. Tests shows that the shallots have four different molecules which showed significant reduction of bacterial which are multidrug-resistant TB.

This wild plant mostly grows in wild and different parts of Iran. Its sliced, dried and sold in the market after harvesting. Apart from its nutritional values, the inhibitors use it to treat patients with cold sore and has cytotoxic property towards human tumour cell lines.

Researchers said they hope that molecules extracted from the shallot could be used alongside with anti-tuberculosis drugs to increase their effect and to reduce the occurrence of multidrug-resistant TB of patients.


Rachael Lamptey