Tag Archives: TB

Indian scientists develop new approach to combat TB

Dr Swati Subodh

Prof. Anil K. Tyagi (right) with fellow researchers

New Delhi: A group of Indian scientists have identified molecules which are effective in inhibiting the growth of tuberculosis-causing bacteria – Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The molecules target an important gene, IdeR, which is essential for the survival of the bacteria. This development could lead to new drugs against TB in future. “We have identified inhibitory molecules against IdeR, a key iron regulator that is crucial for survival of the TB pathogen,” said Prof. Anil K. Tyagi, a senior scientist at the University of Delhi and lead researcher of the study. The findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.


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In laboratory studies, the new molecules were not toxic in human liver cells and kidney cells and could efficiently reach the bacteria present within the cell, researchers said.
For decades treatment of TB has remained unchanged. Patients have to take multiple drugs over 6 to 9 months, which makes the treatment effective but largely inefficient due to associated side effects and high rate of patient non-compliance. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing drug resistant form of TB which is difficult to treat. Therefore, scientists are searching for better treatment which is shorter in duration and requires fewer drugs.

“We employed computer aided drug discovery and experimental approaches to identify inhibitors against an essential protein of TB bacteria,” explained Dr Garima Khare, one of the lead researchers. In doing so, researchers were able to identify additional features that contribute to better inhibition of this protein’s activity.

The study holds promise as it reports the structure and properties of likely drug molecules which are effective in inhibiting the bacteria by targeting a single essential bacterial gene vis-a-vis the multi-gene approach of the present treatment regimen.


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“These inhibitors will open new avenues for rational modifications for developing more potent molecules against IdeR for the development of new TB drugs” hopes Prof Tyagi.

The study was conducted at Department of Biochemistry, University of Delhi South campus by Akshay Rohilla, Dr Garima Khare and Dr Anil.K Tyagi. The research was funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). (India Science Wire)

Twitter handle: @swatisubodh


New add-on therapy found effective in clearing TB bacteria

Bhavya Khullar

New Delhi: Indian scientists have found a new way to improve efficacy of existing TB treatment in patients reporting relapse of the disease after treatment.

The new add-on therapy consists of injecting ‘heat-killed’ bacteria of a species called Mycobacterium indicuspranii (MIP) into patients along with standard TB drugs. The approach has been tested in category II pulmonary TB patients, and found effective in clearing TB bacteria faster. MIP had earlier shown immunotherapeutic effects in multibacillary leprosy patients.

Standard TB treatment consists of antibiotics, but in some cases the infection reappears due to failed treatment or lack of compliance. Such cases are called category II pulmonary TB patients, and they are more likely to develop multi drug resistance.

A group of patients were given the adjuvant therapyalong with DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short course), while the other received only DOTS and a placebo. All the 890 patients were followed up for two years. In four weeks, 67% patients with the adjuvant therapy converted to sputum culture negative compared to 57% in the placebo group. By the end of the treatment, adjuvant therapy helped 94.2% patients recover compared to 89% in the placebo group.

“This demonstrates superiority of MIP (adjuvant) in inducing early culture negativity and improving the cure rate of Category II Pulmonary TB patients with parameters that would include them in ‘difficult-to-treat’ category,” said Dr. Rajni Rani of Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, who led the research team.

“Our study has implications in eradicating TB in the longer run”, she added. “The study now has to be done on a larger group of category II patients and in multi-drug resistant patients to evaluate its efficacy.” The study results have appeared in journal Scientific Reports.

The team included Surendra K Sharma, Kiran Katoch, Rohit Sarin, Raman Balambal, Nirmal Kumar Jain, Naresh Patel, Kolluri J R Murthy, Neeta Singla, P K Saha, Ashwani Khanna, Urvashi Singh, Sanjiv Kumar, A Sengupta, J N Banavaliker, D S Chauhan, Shailendra Sachan, Mohammad Wasim, Sanjay Tripathi, Nilesh Dutt, Nitin Jain, Nalin Joshi, Sita Ram Raju Penmesta, Sumanlatha Gaddam, Sanjay Gupta, Bakulesh Khamar, Bindu Dey, Dipendra K Mitra, Sunil K Arora, Sangeeta Bhaskar, and Rajni Rani.

The study was jointly done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; National JALMA Institute of Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases, Agra; National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, New Delhi; National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai; SMS Medical College in Jaipur, Rajasthan; NHL Municipal Medical College in Ahmadabad; Mahavir Hospital and Research Centre, Hyderabad; RBTB Hospital, New Delhi;Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh; Chest Clinic and Hospital, New Delhi; and National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi. (India Science Wire)


Combine TB vaccination with deworming, suggest scientists

By Bhavya Khullar, Twitter- BhavyaSc

New Delhi: Combining deworming and tuberculosis (TB) could help provide better protection against TB, a new study has suggested.

Scientists in Chennai studied people with latent TB patients– those who are infected with the disease-causing bacterium but cannot spread it to others because the infection is kept under control by immune system of the body.Some of them were also infected with a threadworm Strongyloidesstercoralis. The worm survives in the small intestine and spreads through fecal-contaminated soil.

It was found that latent TB patients with worm infestation had lower numbers of immune cells called B-cells that secrete antibodies which keep TB under check. In addition to lowered B-cell numbers, they had reduced levels of antibodies against TB in their blood which signifies a weak immune response against TB. When such patients were treated with deworming drugs – ivermectin or albendazole – the immune cells and antibody levels recovered.

“The implications of our study are twofold: threadworms might promote reactivation of active TB in latent TB infected patients, and also negatively influence the immune response to TB vaccines, said Professor Subash Babu, who led the study at the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.

“We suggest that treatment for worm infection would make for aprudent first step in the conduct of TB vaccine trials in countries endemic for both TB and worms”, Babu said.

Results of the study, conducted have been published in a recent issue of scientific journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. It included 132 individuals,with 44 people in each of the three groups-those with latent TB, threadworm infestation, and with latent TB and worm infection both.

The research team included Rajamanickam Anuradha, Saravanan Munisankar, YuktiBhootra, ChandrakumarDolla, Paul Kumaran, Thomas B Nutman, and Subash Babu. The study was done jointly by the Chennai institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA.

(India Science Wire)