New compound may treat HIV, drug-resistant TB


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WASHINGTON: Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new molecule that may treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and even HIV infection.
While standard anti-TB drugs can cure most people of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, improper use of antibiotics has led to new strains of the bacterium resistant to the two most powerful medications, isoniazid and rifampicin.

“Multi-drug resistant TB is spreading rapidly in many parts of the world,” said Vasu Nair, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Drug Discovery in the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy . “There is a tremendous need for new therapies, and we think our laboratory has developed a strong candidate that disrupts fundamental steps in the bacterium’s reproduction process,” said Nair, lead author of the study in the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Just like other living organisms, the genetic information contained in M tuberculosis undergoes a complex process known as transcription in which the bacterial enzyme, DNA-dependent RNA polymerase, or RNAP, produces TB RNA. This molecule is involved in processes that produce critical bacterial proteins that the organism needs to survive.

Nair and his colleagues said they were surprised to discover through preliminary experiments that the compound also exhibited strong anti-HIV properties, opening the door for dual therapeutic applications. The risk for developing TB is between 26 and 31 times greater in people living with HIV than those without HIV infection. Article continues

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