Established family of drugs could be effective against TB

New research recently showed that a well-established family of anti-parasitic drugs has surprising potential as a new line of treatment for tuberculosis.

The results of the study, conducted by scientists at the University of British Columbia, show that the avermectin family of drugs was effective when used in vitro, according to InfectionControlToday.com.

The avermectin family was discovered nearly 40 years ago and is commonly used in the developing world against parasitic diseases that cause river blindness and elephantiasis. They were originally thought to be ineffective against bacterial diseases, but the UBC study showed that the drugs were capable of killing the bacteria that causes TB, including drug-resistant forms.

"These drugs are cheap, routinely produced by pharmaceutical companies, and, in many cases, approved for humans use," UBC researcher Santiago Ramón-Garcia said, InfectionControlToday.com reports. "So the jump from lab bench to clinic could be much quicker.

"In addition, 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 multidrug-resistant TB, which have very low probabilities of being cured."

The study, which was recently published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, was undertaken by scientists at UBC's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and associated with UBC's Centre for Tuberculosis Research and the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative.