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A new substance may help fight tuberculosis: study

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A new substance may help fight tuberculosis: study
A new substance may help fight tuberculosis: study. wikimedia commons
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London, Dec 29, 2017: Researchers have discovered a substance that may help combat the bacterium that causes life-threatening tuberculosis (TB) infections.

The substance, called beta lactone EZ120, interferes with the formation of the bacterium’s mycomembrane.

As this membrane is known to hamper the effect of many medications, this new substance offers hope of fighting the bacteria that can develop resistance to the antimicrobial drugs.

It is effective even in low concentrations and when combined with known antibiotics their effectiveness is improved by up to 100-fold, the study said.

“Vancomycin, a common antibiotic, and EZ120 work together very well,” said lead researcher Stephan Sieber, Professor of Organic Chemistry at Technical University of Munich in Germany.

“When used together, the dose can be reduced over 100-fold,” Sieber said.

The mycomembrane of the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis consists of a lipid double layer that encapsulates the cell wall, forming an exterior barrier.

The researchers found that the substance can inhibit the biosynthesis of the mycomembrane and kills mycobacteria effectively.

Using enzyme assays and mass spectroscopy investigations, Johannes Lehmann of Technical University of Munich demonstrated that the new inhibitor blocks especially the enzymes Pks13 and Ag85, which play a key role in the development of mycomembranes.

The scientists suspect that disrupting the mycomembrane enables antibiotics to enter the bacteria more easily.

“This is a new mode of action and might be a starting point for novel tuberculosis therapies,” Sieber said. (IANS)

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Vitamin C helps in treating Tuberculosis

Taken in diet with medication, it will enhance treatment

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TB is the leading killer of HIV-infected people. In South Africa, 73% of TB patients are HIV positive. Pixabay
TB is the leading killer of HIV-infected people. In South Africa, 73% of TB patients are HIV positive. Pixabay

Foods rich in Vitamin C (such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, kiwifruit and oranges) can enhance treatment and enable a faster recovery for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB), if taken along with regular medication.

TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. In 2016, it affected 10.4 million people around the world and caused 1.7 million deaths.

Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels
Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels

Findings

  • Giving Vitamin C — a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress to the body and also lowers cancer risk — with TB drugs could reduce the unusually long time it takes these drugs to eradicate this pathogen.
  • The addition of Vitamin C to TB drug treatment potentiates the killing of bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and could shorten TB chemotherapy.
  • That’s important because treatment of drug susceptible TB takes six months, resulting in some treatment mismanagement, potentially leading to the emergence and spread of drug-resistant TB.

Vitamin C had no activity by itself, but in two independent experiments, the combination of Vitamin C with the first-line TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin, reduced the organ burdens faster than the two drugs without vitamin C, said Catherine J. Vilcheze, at the varsity.

“Vitamin C is known to be safe and our current mouse studies suggest that Vitamin C could enhance TB chemotherapy,” said lead investigator William R. Jacobs, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

TB is one of the world's deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. Wikimedia commons
TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. Wikimedia commons

Methodology

  • The team treated MTB-infected mice with anti-TB drugs or vitamin C alone, or the drugs and vitamin C together.
  • Experiments in infected tissue cultures demonstrated similar results, shortening the time to sterilisation of the tissue culture by seven days.

The study was published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. (IANS)

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