Wednesday September 19, 2018

Now Comes a Non-Antibiotic Drug to Treat Tuberculosis

The researchers hope for clinical trials in humans up in four years

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Tuberculosis
Novel drug may offer treatment for TB. Pixabay
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In a first, British scientists have developed a non-antibiotic drug that can one day successfully treat tuberculosis (TB) in humans.

The drug, developed by the University of Manchester, works by targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis’ (Mtb) defences rather than the bacteria itself. It can also take out its increasingly commonly antibiotic resistant strains.

In the study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, animals with acute and chronic TB infection were treated with the compound.

The findings showed that the compound does not kill the bacteria directly, but results in a significant reduction in the bacterial burden.

“For more than 60 years, the only weapon doctors have been able to use against TB is antibiotics. But resistance is becoming an increasingly worrying problem and the prolonged treatment is difficult and distressing for patients,” said Lydia Tabernero, Professor from the varsity.

“But by disabling this clandestine bacteria’s defences we’re thrilled to find a way that enhances the chances of the body’s immune system to do its job, and thus eliminate the pathogen,” Tabernero said.

Tuberculosis
Representational image. IANS

Mtb secretes molecules called Virulence Factors — the cell’s secret weapon — which block out the immune response to the infection, making it difficult to treat.

The team identified one Virulence Factor called MptpB as a suitable target, which when blocked allows white blood cells to kill Mtb in a more efficient way.

“The great thing about MptpB is that there’s nothing similar in humans – so our compound which blocks it is not toxic to the human cells,” Tabernero said.

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“Because the bacteria hasn’t been threatened directly, it is less likely to develop resistance against this new agent, and this will be a major advantage over current antibiotics, for which bacteria had already become resistant,” he explained.

The researchers hope for clinical trials in humans up in four years. (IANS)

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Can Vinegar be Used to Treat Tuberculosis?

There is a real need for less toxic and less expensive disinfectants that can eliminate TB and non-TB mycobacteria, especially in resource-poor countries

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Nutritional therapists have known about this product for years and will often recommend it to clients to help stimulate the digestion, alkalise the body and help with weight loss
Nutritional therapists have known about this product for years and will often recommend it to clients to help stimulate the digestion, alkalise the body and help with weight loss. Pixabay

An international team of researchers has found that an active ingredient in vinegar can effectively kill mycobacteria, even the highly drug-resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Acetic acid in vinegar might be used as an inexpensive and non-toxic disinfectant against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria as well as other stubborn, disinfectant-resistant mycobacteria, they found.

“For now, this is simply an interesting observation. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a common disinfectant and we merely extended studies from the early 20th century on acetic acid,” explained Howard Takiff, head of the laboratory of molecular genetics at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Investigation (IVIC) in Caracas, Venezuela.

Mycobacteria are known to cause tuberculosis and leprosy, but non-TB mycobacteria are common in the environment, even in tap water, and are resistant to commonly used disinfectants.

vinegar
Representational image. Pixabay

While investigating the ability of non-TB mycobacteria to resist disinfectants and antibiotics, Takiff’s postdoctoral fellow Claudia Cortesia stumbled upon vinegar’s ability to kill mycobacteria.

Testing a drug that needed to be dissolved in acetic acid, Cortesia found that the control with acetic acid alone, killed the mycobacteria she wanted to study.

“After Claudia’s initial observation, we tested for the minimal concentrations and exposure times that would kill different mycobacteria,” noted Takiff.

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“There is a real need for less toxic and less expensive disinfectants that can eliminate TB and non-TB mycobacteria, especially in resource-poor countries,” Takiff observed.

Whether it could be useful in the clinic or labs for sterilising medical equipment or disinfecting cultures or clinical specimens remains to be determined, said the study published in mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology. (IANS)

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