A recent study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that when mice receive statins, typically used to reduce cholesterol, their tuberculosis (TB) infections heal faster than they otherwise would.
"If our results hold up in humans, the use of statins as adjuncts to standard drug treatment could confer substantial benefits to public health and the nearly nine million new TB patients diagnosed worldwide each year," Dr. Petros Karakousis, study author and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said. "Because statins like the one we tested are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have a long history of safety in patients, the new data might substantially accelerate their re-purposing for tuberculosis patients."
The traditional first-line treatment for TB includes four antibiotics. This treatment is theorized to cure all of the infections that are susceptible to drugs, as long as the patients strictly adhere to the regimen.
Unfortunately, this cure can take between six and nine months for regular TB; for drug-resistance TB, patients need a minimum of 18 months of the treatments.
Reducing the amount of time it takes to treat the disease could reduce the overall health burden, which is costly for patients and health industries.
The infectious disease experts have published this evidence in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.