New Tactics in the Fight against Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis has been claiming lives for the longest period of time. It was earlier popularly known as Consumption and was dreaded by all. There are prevalent stories of settlers succumbing to Consumption, away from home and without any medical assistance. Tuberculosis or TB is caused by an infectious strain of bacteria called the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It affects the lungs and in around 50 percent of the affected people, it leads to eventual death.
Available Treatment for Tuberculosis
Owing to enormous medical advancement, TB is now treated with the help of medicines. Treatment or the fight against Tuberculosis lasts for a period of six to eight months because the microorganism causing TB grows and dies slowly. Drugs like Rifater, Rifampin and Ethambutol are prescribed by doctors. Treatment also calls for regular tests.
New Tactics or Developments in the fight against Tuberculosis
The rate of deaths due to Tuberculosis infection has been the bane of medical science. After HIV, it is TB that kills the maximum number of people yearly. Moreover, the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis organism seems to be fast evolving and recent research indicates that newer strains of TB are emerging, that are resistant to the first line of drugs used for treatment. There is constant effort being made to come up new tactics which will aid the fight against Tuberculosis. Following are a few recent developments that will help in the fight against Tuberculosis.
- Researchers have now discovered that the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis organism can also survive in a vacuum. However, it becomes slow in the process and therefore, treatment takes longer. Therefore, medicines are being developed that will target those metabolic elements in the organism that remain active in the absence of air. This will help treatment.
- The microorganism spends a lot of its genome in coding for proteins. These proteins in turn synthesise and degrade the lipids in humans. Therefore, it has been suggested that medicinal treatment should also be directed on these proteins so that it helps in curing Tuberculosis faster.
- Till date, experts had only concentrated on a third of the entire group of enzymes and chemical reactions that are required by the Tuberculosis organism to survive in the human body. Thanks to recent development all the enzymes responsible for its survival have been discovered and now treatment of Tuberculosis will hopefully become faster.
- Researchers have also discovered that the vaccine that has been used for Tuberculosis actually does not contain a major strain of DNA from the bacterial strain that is used in the vaccine. Also this missing strain is important for increasing the immunity of the person against Tuberculosis. Therefore, researchers have come to the conclusion that there should be a test that can look for a response which is against the DNA genes which are not there in the vaccine. Then it will become easy to identify the ones who have been infected with TB and the ones who have been vaccinated.
New tactics have to be constantly evolved in the fight against Tuberculosis because of the ever evolving nature of the microorganism. Indian researchers have significantly contributed in the fight against Tuberculosis. However, there is more work to be done as these advanced tests are very expensive and therefore are available only to people in the developed countries. Therefore, science has to work towards making these new tactics in the fight against Tuberculosis also available to the lesser fortunate population in developing and underdeveloped economies.
Read more related articles on Tuberculosis.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Mar 16, 2012
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