Adding Vitamin C to TB drug combo may shorten treatment time, says AIIMS study
Using Vitamin C with the TB drugs at an intracellular model makes one of the four drugs more effective, found the AIIMS study that mimicked the infections in humans in cells in a lab.health Updated: Jan 11, 2018 13:37 IST
Vitamin C along with the four-drug combination therapy used for treating tuberculosis (TB) might shorten the duration of treatment, found an early-stage lab study by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Treating uncomplicated TB takes six to eight months, while treating resistant strains takes upto two years.
Side-effects and long duration of treatment are the major reasons why people stop DOTS (directly observed treatment short-course) treatment even though drugs are provided free of cost by the government.
India recorded 27.9 lakh cases of TB, which kills 4.23 lakh people each year.
Using Vitamin C with the TB drugs at an intracellular model makes one of the four drugs more effective, found the AIIMS study that mimicked the infections in humans in cells in a lab.
“In 2010, we found adding Vitamin C to the cultures of mycobacterium tuberculosis sent them to a dormant state in eight days -- they stopped reproducing or reproduced at a very slow rate. This in humans is considered to be a latent infection, meaning there are no symptoms even though a person carries the infection,” said Dr Jaya Sivaswami Tyagi, a professor at the department of biotechnology at AIIMS.
In a recent article published in BMC Genomics, the team studied the effect of the TB drugs on the dormant bacteria.
“The dormant bacteria were not susceptible to two of the four first-line drugs (drugs used initially for treatment) against TB. But Vitamin C, which is acidic in nature, made the pH level suitable for the action of a third drug, pyrazinamide. Vitamin C hugely increased its action to quickly clear dormant infection, which is harder to clear out with the drugs currently in use,” said Dr Tyagi.
The research team has proposed using Vitamin C along with the first-line TB drugs in humans to test for the effectiveness of the new regimen.