Saturday December 14, 2019

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

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)

Next Story

Researchers Develop a New Vaccine to Stop Bovine TB

The Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine, which is currently used to protect humans against TB and is effective in cattle, is incompatible with the PPD test

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Bovine TB
This potentially allows farmers and veterinarians to protect their animals with the new BCG vaccine, whilst still maintaining a diagnostic test that will detect Bovine TB. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel vaccine and complementary skin test to protect cattle against bovine tuberculosis also known as Bovine TB.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, revealed that the research team from University of Surrey created a vaccine that is compatible with a synthetic form of the tuberculin skin test(PPD), a legally required test used for the surveillance of TB in cattle throughout the UK.

“This new vaccine provides protection against bovine TB and will help in the fight against this deadly disease which infects over 50 million cattle worldwide and is economically devastating to farmers,” said study researcher Johnjoe McFadden

Bovine TB is an infectious disease in cattle affecting their lungs, and those that test positive for the disease are culled.

The Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine, which is currently used to protect humans against TB and is effective in cattle, is incompatible with the PPD test.

Bovine TB
Bovine TB is an infectious disease in cattle affecting their lungs, and those that test positive for the disease are culled. Wikimedia Commons

During this study, researchers sought to make a new BCG vaccine strain that lacks some of the proteins that are shared with the pathogen Mycobacterium bovis by identifying genes that contain encoded immunogenic proteins that could be removed from BCG without affecting its ability to work as a live vaccine.

To do this, a collection of BCG strains that had each lost a single gene were injected into cows and survival rates measured. This allowed the team to identify genes that could be removed without compromising the BCG vaccine’s effectiveness.

These dispensable genes encoding immunogenic proteins were then deleted from the BCG chromosome to make a BCG-minus strain.

The deleted immunogenic proteins were then used to develop a new synthetic skin test that, like PPD, will be positive for animals that have been exposed to TB but, unlike PPD, will be negative for animals that have been vaccinated with the BCG-minus strain.

The protective efficiency of the new strain was tested in guinea pigs.

Bovine TB
Researchers have developed a novel vaccine and complementary skin test to protect cattle against bovine tuberculosis also known as Bovine TB. Pixabay

It was found that TB-infected guinea pigs tested positive for the disease using the synthetic skin test whilst guinea pigs vaccinated with the BCG-minus strain did not.

So, unlike PPD, the new skin test also works in animals that are protected from TB by BCG-minus vaccination.

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This potentially allows farmers and veterinarians to protect their animals with the new BCG vaccine, whilst still maintaining a diagnostic test that will detect TB. (IANS)