Tuberculosis, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a leading cause of death worldwide. In 2017 alone, 10 million people across the globe were affected by the disease, and about 1.6 million succumbed to it. With some strains of the bacteria developing resistance to many existing drugs, the situation is getting grimmer in countries like India. In a recent study, researchers from the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Gujarat, have developed some potential drugs against tuberculosis and have tested their efficiency against the TB bacteria and other microbes.
Discovering new drug compounds against tuberculosis is not new; scientists across the globe are exploring the use of natural compounds, chemical agents and combinations of drugs, and are screening new drugs using computer-based approaches. In the present study, the researchers have synthesised some chemical agents belonging to the group ‘azoles’, which are known to kill microbes, especially fungi, by preventing the synthesis of lipids in their body. The study was published in the journal Current Computer-Aided Drug Design.
The researchers then tested the efficiency of these compounds against the TB bacteria, four other bacteria and three fungal species. They determined the lowest concentration of these chemicals that can inhibit the growth of microbes. Using a computer-based approach called molecular docking, which predicts the interaction between two or more molecules, they studied the interaction of these compounds with a target protein in the TB bacteria. They also tested the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion properties of these compounds—necessary parameters to determine the viability of a chemical compound to be used as a drug.
The researchers found that six of the synthesised compounds showed promising antimicrobial activity with one of them being very efficient in killing the TB bacteria.
The researchers believe that this compound could act as a potential anti-tuberculosis drug. They add that their findings “give the best choice for the preparation of new derivatives in order to improve antitubercular activity in future with more improved potency”.
With a robust global fight against drug-resistant tuberculosis on full throttle, studies like this can help us achieve the goal of eliminating the disease very soon.