Friday March 22, 2019

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

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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TB
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.

TB
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.

Doctor
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)