Tuesday April 24, 2018

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
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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)

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How a phone call is saving lives of TB patients in India

The traditional medication adherence programme "Directly Observed Treatment" or "DOTS" involved the patients going to a healthcare centre where they ingest the medication in front of a health worker

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A phone call is saving patients from TB. IANS
A phone call is saving patients from TB. IANS
  • Can a phone call save lives?
  • A project called 99DOTS helps patients with Tuberculosis in India get medication
  • TB is one of the top 10 causes of deaths globally

In a world flooded with technological advancements, can a phone call save lives? This is happening as part of a project developed by software giant Microsoft in India.

The project, named “99DOTS”, which began in 2013 helps patients with Tuberculosis in India get medication adherence and monitoring via missed calls and SMSes.

From a modest pilot involving just 20 patients in early 2014, 99DOTS has enrolled over 93,000 patients in just four years, with 41,000 patients currently under treatment.

Rohingya Children
Tuberculosis causes lots of death every year. VOA

“99DOTS is a great example of such a project, where we’ve invented a very simple but unusually effective technology to solve a global health problem. And we are making this technology openly available to the global health community,” Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, said in a statement.

TB is one of the top 10 causes of deaths globally, with 10.4 million people falling ill with the disease and 1.7 million related deaths reported in 2016 alone. India leads the count in TB chart even though free and effective medications are available, according to the World Health Organisation.

Also Read: A new substance may help fight tuberculosis: study

“One of the biggest barriers to recovery from TB is medication adherence,” Bill Thies, senior Researcher at the Microsoft Researcher India, said in a statement.

“Patients have to take daily drugs for a full six months or else they do not fully recover, and are at risk of developing drug resistance.” However, “once patients start feeling better after a few weeks, it becomes very difficult to convince them to take toxic drugs for another five months – especially if patients have little or no understanding of germs and antibiotic resistance”, Thies rued.

This is where “99DOTS” project plays a significant role. In the project, each anti-TB blister pack is wrapped in a custom envelope, which hides a phone number behind the medication. When a patient dispenses his or her pills, they can see these hidden numbers. After taking daily medication, patients make a free call to the number.

A new substance may help fight tuberculosis: study
This helpline help patients get medication on time. Wikimedia Commons

The combination of the call and patient’s caller ID yields high confidence that the dose was “in-hand” and they took it, Thies said. The team also developed an SMS reminder system for patients. Missed doses trigger SMS notifications to care providers, who follow up with personal or phone-based counselling. The traditional medication adherence programme “Directly Observed Treatment” or “DOTS” involved the patients going to a healthcare centre where they ingest the medication in front of a health worker.

“99DOTS gives the patients the freedom and ownership of their treatment. They are able to take the medication wherever they are. It also provides them the privacy of not having to visit a health centre,” explained Andrew Cross who was earlier Programme Manager at Microsoft Research and teamed up with Thies to build up 99DOTS. IANS