Thursday November 15, 2018

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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Tuberculosis A Vicious Epidemic: Deputy UN Chief

The WHO released its annual TB report. It found cases in all countries and among all age groups.

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A relative adjusts the oxygen mask of a tuberculosis patient at a TB hospital on World Tuberculosis Day in Hyderabad, India. VOA

Tuberculosis (TB) is a vicious epidemic that is drastically underfunded. That was the takeaway message from the first high-level meeting focused on the infectious disease at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Amina Mohammad, U.N. deputy secretary-general, said the disease is fueled by poverty, inequality, migration and conflict, and that an additional $13 billion per year is needed to get the disease under control.

Last year, tuberculosis killed more people than any other communicable disease — more than 1.3 million men, women and children.

The World Health Organization estimates that the 10 million people who become newly infected each year live mostly in poor countries with limited access to health care.

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The Bacteria that causes Tuberculosis

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, told the assembly that partnership is vital to end the disease. He said the WHO is committed to working with every country, partner and community to get the job done.

The WHO plans to lead U.N. efforts to support governments and other partners in order to drive a faster response to TB.

Most people can be cured with a six-month treatment program. But as world leaders told the assembly, medication is expensive, and the stigma associated with TB interferes with getting people screened and treated.

Nandita Venkatesan, a young woman from India, told the assembly about the toll the disease has taken on her life. She got TB more than once, including a drug-resistant variety. She said it robbed her of eight years of her life while she was being treated. One of the medications she took to help cure TB robbed her of her hearing.

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Amina Mohammad, U.N. deputy secretary-general, said the disease is fueled by poverty, inequality, migration and conflict, Pixabay

Venkatesan said getting cured involved hospital stays, six surgeries and negative reactions to at least one drug used to cure her.

Also Read: Statistics of Babies Born With Syphilis Dobles Since 2013

Just days before the high-level meeting, the WHO released its annual TB report. It found cases in all countries and among all age groups. It also found that two-thirds of the cases were in eight countries — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa and Nigeria.

The meeting ended with the adoption of a declaration intended to strengthen action and investments for ending TB and saving millions of lives. (VOA)