New TB drug may shorten treatment duration

Health news

New York,
Feb 13. A new experimental antibiotic for tuberculosis (TB) has
been shown to be more effective against TB than Isoniazid, a decades old drug
which is currently one of the standard treatment for the disease, finds a study
on mice.

The new
drug, called AN12855, has several advantages over Isoniazid as Isoniazid
requires conversion to its active form by a Mycobacterial enzyme, KatG,
in order to kill the pathogen, which creates some problems.

In some M.
tuberculosis,
KatG is nonfunctional. That does not make M.
tuberculosis any less pathogenic, but it prevents the drug from working.
Consequently, this creates an easy avenue for the development of drug
resistance.

In the
study, the new drug showed a much lower tendency to develop resistance, and it
remains in the tissues where the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria reside for
longer, killing them more effectively.

What is
the goal of TB drug development programmes

The goal of
TB drug development programmes is to develop universal treatment regimens that
will shorten and simplify TB treatment in patients, which typically
takes at least six months, and sometimes more than a year, said lead author
Gregory T. Robertson, Assistant Professor at the Colorado State University in
Fort Collins in the US.

For the
study, the researchers used a new TB mouse model that develops these M.
tuberculosis-containing granulomas to compare Isoniazid and AN12855.

Granuloma
refers to a mass of granulation tissue, typically produced in response to
infection, inflammation, or the presence of a foreign substance.

“We
discovered that the drugs differed dramatically with respect to their abilities
to kill the pathogen in highly diseased tissues,” said Robertson.

AN12855
proved more effective, “without selecting for appreciable drug
resistance”, added Robertson in the study published in the journal
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Despite
significant progress in combating tuberculosis, it remains the leading
infectious cause of death worldwide, he said.

“Multidrug resistance is a further challenge to the mission to control TB globally. Collectively, our group has pioneered the use of new TB mouse efficacy models to help advance innovative new therapies designed to shorten the length of TB treatment.”

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