According to Sally-Ann Cryan, Associate Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, many patients of tuberculosis are becoming resistant to the existing antibiotics for tuberculosis (TB). Hence, it comes as good news when Cryan and her team announced they have developed a new treatment that is useful for hundreds and thousands of patients of tuberculosis.
The study observed the inhaler treatment that the TB patients used and said that it works by reducing the bacteria in the lungs causing TB while aiding a patient’s immune system to fight the disease.
“This new treatment could be used alongside antibiotics to treat drug-resistant TB and also possibly reduce the rate of antibiotic resistance resulting from conventional antibiotic treatments," said Cryan.
Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death all over the world. According to W.H.O., ten million people fell ill with TB and 1.6 million died due to the disease in 2017.
For the purpose of the study, the team used a spray-drying process to package all-trans-Retinoic acid solution - a derivative of Vitamin A -- within safe-for-consumption particles that are small enough to use in an inhaler.
The study findings that were published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics demonstrated that the particles easily delivered the treatment and marginally reduced TB-causing bacteria and associated lung damage.
"Unfortunately, TB remains a significant problem for world health. We urgently need innovative treatments like this one if we are to achieve the UN 2030 health targets," said Joseph Keane, Professor at Trinity College Dublin.
The only vaccine for TB was developed in 1921, is unreliable in preventing the most common form of TB and not suitable for all patient groups. The vaccine works best against specific forms of TB and is usually given to infants in at-risk populations.
We can now only hope that the new vaccine hits the market sooner.