Monday October 15, 2018

Several compounds show successful results against MDR-TB

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Hyderabad: If the results obtained at the laboratory remain true in the clinical trials too, then it can be said that we have found the cure to overcome the problem of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the coming years.

Scientists at the National Mol Bank at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad have screened thousands of natural and synthetic compounds. They have identified compounds active at the laboratory level for asthma, cancers, TB and central nervous system disorders. The compound is said to be highly automated with storage and retrieval facility of 1.6 million samples. It has 30,000 pure compounds as of now.

The scientists have screened around 10,000 compounds for TB and identified 281 hits, as part of intensifying drug discovery efforts. Out of them, 11 compounds which are unrelated to the existing anti-TB drugs showed promising results. The experiments were done at the cellular level on the MDR-TB bacteria. Dr P Srihari, Principal Scientist of IICT said, “We will make several analogues to these compounds and look at the pathway they are following for achieving inhibitory activity.”

Dr Prarthama Mainkar, Scientist at IICT, said: “We know it’s inhibiting Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We want to find out the pathway. Then we can deliver the drug.” After filtering down and coming to the right compound, it would undergo human trials which would take around two to three years to complete, she added. In the tests conducted on mice’s cancer cell lines, three compounds to treat leukaemia acted effectively. Scientists further plan to undertake the same studies in dogs and conduct pre-clinical trials.

In regard to renal cancer, promising results were noticed. Dr Prathhama said, “We plan to go for clinical trials in collaboration with another institution in the next two years.”

In experiments conducted in zebra fish and mice models in the laboratory, another set of compounds proved useful in strengthening neurons. Moreover, the compounds underwent the crucial blood-brain barrier successfully. Further studies are also being carried out in collaboration with the University of Texas and ETH, Zurich. These compounds could eventually help in developing drugs for the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Two other compounds were patented by IICT and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, which proved to be effective against asthma. The two institutions conducted the collaborative studies. (picture courtesy: http://newsatjama.jama.com/)

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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.

TB
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)

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