Monday January 27, 2020

Vitamin D May Help to Combat Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis

For the study, researchers included 1,850 patients who received antibiotic treatment

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Tuberculosis
Representational image. IANS

Vitamin D, commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin”, can combat tuberculosis (TB) bacteria found in the lungs of people with multi-drug resistant TB, according to latest research.

The study showed that when added to antibiotic treatment, vitamin D was found to treat TB specifically in patients with multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

The vitamin D supplementation was also found to be safe at the doses administered, with no links to serious adverse events, findings further revealed in the European Respiratory Journal.

“Multi-drug resistant TB is on the rise globally. It’s notoriously difficult to treat, and it carries a much worse prognosis than standard TB,” said Lead Researcher Adrian Martineau, Professor from Queen Mary University of London.

“Our study raises the possibility that vitamin D — which is very safe and inexpensive — could benefit this hard-to-treat group of patients by taking a novel approach to their treatment,” said Martineau.

Rats can play a role in containing 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 immune system could be given a boost by adding vitamin D to antibiotic treatment to help the body clear TB bugs, rather than relying on antibiotics on their own to kill the bacteria directly, the study suggested.

While vitamin D is best known for its effects on bone health, previous studies have shown its role in protecting against colds, flu, asthma attacks, and that it can also protect chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients from deadly lung attacks.

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MDR TB is caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with at least two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs, causing around 500,000 cases and 150,000 deaths per year worldwide, the study noted.

For the study, researchers included 1,850 patients who received antibiotic treatment. (IANS)

Next Story

Gene Expression Signature in Blood May Predict Onset of Tuberculosis

This blood test may predict onset of tuberculosis

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Blood Test
Gene expression signatures in blood could be used to predict tuberculosis at a very early stage. PIxabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have revealed a blood test could predict the onset of tuberculosis three to six months before people become unwell, a finding which could help better target antibiotics and save countless lives. This test is a must for a healthy lifestyle.

For the findings, published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, researchers at University College London sought to identify which, if any, gene expression signatures in blood could be used to predict the disease at a very early stage and before symptoms

Gene expression signatures are single or combined measurements of levels of specific gene products and are being tested in a range of diseases to aid diagnosis, prognosis or prediction of the response to treatment.

Some are already being used to support the management of cancers, but none have reached the clinic in infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB).

“Our findings establish the gene signatures in blood which show most promise for identifying people who are at risk of disease,” said study author Mahdad Noursadeghi, Professor at University College London.

Blood Test
The emergence of gene expression signature blood tests, which can aid diagnosis and early treatment, provides real hope for the management of infectious diseases. Pixabay

“Future development of a blood test based on these findings could make an important contribution to efforts to reduce the impact and spread of this deadly infection,” Noursadeghi added.

For this study, researchers initially conducted a systematic review of published gene signatures found to be present in blood samples from people with TB, compared to healthy individuals.

From this, 17 candidate gene expression signatures for TB were identified, and tested in more than 1,100 blood samples in published data sets from South Africa, Ethiopia, The Gambia, and the UK. Scientists analysed samples from people who had no TB symptoms at the time they gave blood. Those people were then followed up to identify which participants developed TB in the subsequent months.

Researchers found that eight of these signatures, including measurement of expression of a single gene, could predict the diagnosis of TB within three to six months, which falls within the accuracy required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for new diagnostic tests.

This accuracy was achieved, by revealing the patients’ immune responses to bacteria before the symptoms of the disease develop. “The emergence of gene expression signature tests, which can aid diagnosis and early treatment, provides real hope for the management of infectious diseases,” said Indian-origin researcher and the study’s lead author Rishi Gupta.

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“In this study we identify multiple signatures to identify the onset of tuberculosis, which is extremely encouraging, potentially providing multiple targets for early detection,” Gupta added.

Further development of these tests could help identify people who will benefit most from preventative antibiotic treatment, in order to reduce the occurrence of tuberculosis, the researchers said. (IANS)