05:16 GMT30 May 2020
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    In what could be a major breakthrough to save millions of lives infected by the tuberculosis bacteria, Indian researchers have successfully reduced the TB bacteria up to 100 times using bergenin for 60 days in mice.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Bergenin is a phytochemical isolated from tender leaves of the shorea robusta or the sal tree. Researchers hope bergenin holds promise as an adjuvant to TB vaccines. Researchers said adding bergenin to conventional antibiotic therapy may promote clearance of M.tb organisms in patients.

    "Our data suggests that bergenin drastically reduces the mycobacterial burden in infected animals. One of our future goals is to employ bergenin as an adjunct therapy with ATT (anti-tuberculosis therapy) that can possibly reduce the length of treatment, toxicity associated with ATT, re-infection and disease reactivation, and emergence of drug-resistant bacterial variants. Moreover, bergenin holds promise as an adjuvant to TB vaccines," the research paper published in journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology said.

    Eleven researchers are involved in the project from various universities of India including the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Central University of Haryana.

    Indian researchers have started to work on alternate therapeutic strategy to avoid anti-biotic medicine which has severe side-effects on the patients. "Current therapy for TB, adopted as the internationally recognized "Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS)," consists of multiple toxic antibiotics and involves a lengthy regimen associated with significant risk for the generation of drug-resistant organisms. Most countries, irrespective of their socioeconomic status, are under threat from attack by multiple and extremely drug-resistant (MDR and XDR) strains of mycobacterium tuberculosis… Therefore, an alternate therapeutic strategy that avoids these limitations is urgently needed to combat this deadly organism," the research paper said.

    According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis claims two million lives every year. TB is arguably the oldest known human infectious disease, yet an effective and reliable vaccine or therapy is not available.

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