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Anti-parasite drugs have potential for treating TB: Canadian study


10:23, November 23, 2012

VANCOUVER, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Drugs used to treat parasitic diseases are showing surprising potential as a therapy for tuberculosis (TB), a Canadian study has suggested.

The study, published online this week in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, was conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia.

Avermectins are commonly used in the developing world to eliminate the parasitic worms that cause river blindness and elephantiasis, but are traditionally believed to be inactive against all bacteria, according to the researchers.

However, they found that in vitro tests of the avermectin family of drugs in the lab, the drugs actually killed the bacteria that cause TB, including drug resistant forms.

"The drug concentrations effective in vitro indicate members of this family might be very valuable additions to the small repertoire of drugs we have to fight multi-drug resistant TB, which have very low probabilities of being cured," said Santiago Ramon-Garcia, a co-author on the paper.

The researchers believe the findings underscore the potential for finding new approved drugs or synergistic drug combinations.

Further studies are needed to assess the drugs' clinical application for treating TB, and the researchers are now working with animal models to determine effective dosage levels and regimens.

Currently, TB is the second greatest contributor among infectious diseases to adult mortality, causing approximately 1.7 million deaths a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

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