Scientists at Michigan State University have recently discovered through strenuous testing that tuberculosis could be treated with glaucoma medication and may help bring on the extinction of the highly infectious disease.
Cause by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, tuberculosis (more simply called TB) claims the lives of millions of people worldwide. While only 5% to 10% of citizens within the United States are found positive with the bacteria, around 80% of African and Asian countries test as infected.
It is believed to be the cause of a weak immune system, thus, the average immune system of citizens in a well-developed country generally has no issues with fending off the harsher effects.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that 2 billion people are currently infected with TB and is the cause of 95% of deaths in developing countries, where it’s currently one of the main issues investigated.
Professor in microbiology, Robert Abramovitch, along with his assistant have studied around 273,000 compounds of substances that might be effective against the highly infectious disease. Through the development of a fluorescent biosensor that glowed green in the presence of TB, they were able to determine which substances could prove themselves efficient in fighting off the bacteria.
After multiple studies, they discovered that ethoxzolamide, a compound often found in glaucoma medication, has stood out of the bunch by being able to suppress the bacteria’s adaptability to the victim’s immune system. The main issue with TB has been deemed by its ability to see an attack of white cells incoming and know when to evade it, thus lingering far longer in the body, waiting for its opportunity to strike when its weakened. And it has ample of time for that to occur.
For that reason alone, treatment with antibiotics can take up to six months until the bacteria is flushed out of the victim’s system. However, ethoxzolamide essentially blindfolded the harmful bacteria, and tackled the problem of evasion and drug resistance. It shuts down its ability to spread and grow within white cells, reducing the symptoms of TB.
Abramovitch stated that there is no reason to develop further drugs that will kill the infectious bacteria. With glaucoma medicine, its defenses are weakened and it will allow the body to eliminate it itself. Ethoxzolamide could only be used to take down its defensive measures and the protective white cells along with certain drugs that have proved beneficial can do the rest of the work.
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