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Ancient Chinese Medicines have the Power to fight Tuberculosis (TB): New Study

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Medicines (representational image). Pixabay

December 24, 2016: Researchers have found that centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists to treat malaria, can aid in tuberculosis (TB) treatment and even slow drug resistance.

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One-third of the world’s population is infected with TB, which killed 1.8 million people in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) — the TB-causing bacteria — needs oxygen to thrive in the body and the immune system starves this bacterium of oxygen to control the infection.

The study found that artemisinin — the ancient remedy — stopped the ability Mtb to become dormant — a stage of the disease that often makes the use of antibiotics ineffective.

“When TB bacteria are dormant, they become highly tolerant to antibiotics. Blocking dormancy makes the TB bacteria more sensitive to these drugs and could shorten treatment times,” said Robert Abramovitch, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the US.

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Artemisinin attacks a molecule called heme, which is found in the Mtb oxygen sensor.

By disrupting this sensor and essentially turning it off, the medicine stopped the disease’s ability to sense how much oxygen it was getting, the researchers said.

“When the Mtb is starved of oxygen, it goes into a dormant state, which protects it from the stress of low-oxygen environments. If Mtb can’t sense low oxygen, then it can’t become dormant and will die,” Abramovitch said.

TB takes up to six months to treat and is one of the main reasons the disease is so difficult to control, the researchers said.

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They also said that the finding could be key to shortening the course of therapy because it can clear out the dormant, hard-to-kill bacteria.

The paper was published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. (IANS)

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Novel Drug May Shorten Treatment Duration For Tuberculosis

Despite significant progress in combating tuberculosis, it remains the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, he said

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A new experimental antibiotic for tuberculosis (TB) has been shown to be more effective against TB than Isoniazid, a decades old drug which is currently one of the standard treatment for the disease, finds a study on mice.

The new drug, called AN12855, has several advantages over Isoniazid as Isoniazid requires conversion to its active form by a Mycobacterial enzyme, KatG, in order to kill the pathogen, which creates some problems.

In some M. tuberculosis, KatG is nonfunctional. That does not make M. tuberculosis any less pathogenic, but it prevents the drug from working. Consequently, this creates an easy avenue for the development of drug resistance.

In the study, the new drug showed a much lower tendency to develop resistance, and it remains in the tissues where the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria reside for longer, killing them more effectively.

WHO will start working towards ending Tuberculosis
Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

The goal of TB drug development programmes is to develop universal treatment regimens that will shorten and simplify TB treatment in patients, which typically takes at least six months, and sometimes more than a year, said lead author Gregory T. Robertson, Assistant Professor at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins in the US.

For the study, the researchers used a new TB mouse model that develops these M. tuberculosis-containing granulomas to compare Isoniazid and AN12855.

Granuloma refers to a mass of granulation tissue, typically produced in response to infection, inflammation, or the presence of a foreign substance.

“We discovered that the drugs differed dramatically with respect to their abilities to kill the pathogen in highly diseased tissues,” said Robertson.

Tuberculosis
New TB drug may shorten treatment duration: Study. IANS

AN12855 proved more effective, “without selecting for appreciable drug resistance”, added Robertson in the study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Despite significant progress in combating tuberculosis, it remains the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, he said.

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“Multidrug resistance is a further challenge to the mission to control TB globally. Collectively, our group has pioneered the use of new TB mouse efficacy models to help advance innovative new therapies designed to shorten the length of TB treatment.” (IANS)