Saturday March 23, 2019

Vitamin C helps in treating Tuberculosis

Taken in diet with medication, it will enhance treatment

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TB is the leading killer of HIV-infected people. In South Africa, 73% of TB patients are HIV positive. Pixabay
TB is the leading killer of HIV-infected people. In South Africa, 73% of TB patients are HIV positive. Pixabay

Foods rich in Vitamin C (such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, kiwifruit and oranges) can enhance treatment and enable a faster recovery for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB), if taken along with regular medication.

TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. In 2016, it affected 10.4 million people around the world and caused 1.7 million deaths.

Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels
Vitamin C helps treating TB. Pexels

Findings

  • Giving Vitamin C — a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress to the body and also lowers cancer risk — with TB drugs could reduce the unusually long time it takes these drugs to eradicate this pathogen.
  • The addition of Vitamin C to TB drug treatment potentiates the killing of bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and could shorten TB chemotherapy.
  • That’s important because treatment of drug susceptible TB takes six months, resulting in some treatment mismanagement, potentially leading to the emergence and spread of drug-resistant TB.

Vitamin C had no activity by itself, but in two independent experiments, the combination of Vitamin C with the first-line TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin, reduced the organ burdens faster than the two drugs without vitamin C, said Catherine J. Vilcheze, at the varsity.

“Vitamin C is known to be safe and our current mouse studies suggest that Vitamin C could enhance TB chemotherapy,” said lead investigator William R. Jacobs, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

TB is one of the world's deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. Wikimedia commons
TB is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, with one third of the global population infected. Wikimedia commons

Methodology

  • The team treated MTB-infected mice with anti-TB drugs or vitamin C alone, or the drugs and vitamin C together.
  • Experiments in infected tissue cultures demonstrated similar results, shortening the time to sterilisation of the tissue culture by seven days.

The study was published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. (IANS)

Next Story

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)