Saturday March 23, 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)

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WHO Claims, Novel Oral Treatment More Effective in Fighting Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis

The WHO says it is hopeful the new oral treatment program it is launching will be more effective in controlling the spread of the particularly virulent form of tuberculosis. 

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A tuberculosis patient holds medicines at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Hospital at Ram Nagar in Varanasi, India, March 13, 2018. VOA

Tuberculosis has plagued humans for thousands of years and continues to do so. In advance of this year’s World TB Day, March 24, the World Health Organization is issuing a call to action to eradicate the disease by 2030.

As part of these efforts, the WHO is launching an oral drug regimen it says can more effectively treat people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing nearly 4,500 people a day and infecting 10 million people a year.

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As part of these efforts, the WHO is launching an oral drug regimen it says can more effectively treat people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. VOA

Despite the grim statistics, much progress has been made in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the disease. The WHO says 54 million lives have been saved since 2000. But the WHO also warns the gains risk being lost with the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB or MDR-TB.

The current treatment for MDR-TB involves a two-year treatment course of painful injections, which provoke many bad side effects.

The WHO says it is hopeful the new oral treatment program it is launching will be more effective in controlling the spread of the particularly virulent form of tuberculosis.

The director of the WHO’s Global TB Program, Tereza Kasaeva, told VOA the new oral drug treatment the WHO is recommending has far fewer adverse side effects.

“Of course, it will be definitely much, much easier and there will not be a need for regular frequent visits of the physicians or health workers for making these injections. No doubt, as we see from the data, the effectiveness, the treatment success will be definitely much, much higher,” Kasaeva said.

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The director of the WHO’s Global TB Program, Tereza Kasaeva, told VOA the new oral drug treatment the WHO is recommending has far fewer adverse side effects.
VOA

The South African government has announced it plans to adopt the injection-free treatment. Kasaeva said the cost of the oral treatment is around $2,000, which is largely unaffordable for low-income countries.

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She said South Africa is engaging in talks with pharmaceutical companies to drop the price to $400.

The WHO says South Africa is one of the 20 countries most affected by MDR-TB. Others include Russia, China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam. (VOA)