Jun 16, 2019 | Updated: 11:54 AM EDT

Anti-Tuberculosis Compound Found In Soil

Mar 02, 2017 04:40 AM EST

Scientists studying DNA
(Photo : Andrew Burton/Getty Images) Scientists predict reading ability from DNA alone

A new research has found that antibacterial compounds present in soil can lead to a new horizon in the treatment of tuberculosis. The research has been initiated by a team from the University of Sydney, Australia.

According to Medical Xpress, tuberculosis is the cause of more deaths than any other infectious disease.The death rate by tuberculosis is greater than that of HIV/AIDS. In 2015, tuberculosis bacillus or TB had seen 10.4 million new cases and a death toll of 1.4 million people. The current therapies are not proving to be much useful as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria causing TB, is becoming resistant by the day. In 2015, an estimate of 480000 cases was found unresponsive to the two major drugs for treating TB and almost 250000 deaths were due to infections from drug resistance. The situation is grave and calls for a new remedial drug to be found.

The researchers, in international collaboration, have found a new soil compound which can be transcended into a new drug for treating TB. The soil bacteria are known to effectively prevent the growth of other bacteria around them.  The researchers created this compound via structural variations using synthetic chemistry, turning them into "analogue", a more potent compound. Their effective application on the bacteria causing TB in the laboratory saw them killing the bacteria.

According to Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, the new drug inhibits characteristics both in vitro and intracellular results of selective inhibition of the etiological agent of TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. As per researchers, the natural product analogs are inhibiting "Mtb phosphor-MurNac-pentapeptide translocase", the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of lipid I in mycobacteria.

The researchers claim that the analogs behave in the way a key protein does, building a protective wall around the bacterium. Without the wall, bacterium dies. The present drugs are not efficient enough to eradicate the wall building protein, whereas the analogs have killed TB-causing bacteria inside the bacteria dwelling cells in human lungs, known as "microphages".

The researchers are very happy with the results and are ready for the application of the analogs in making a new TB drug. They also know that it is only a primary stage and will require more testing and safety studies before the drug can be used.

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