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Tuberculosis is a deadly disease which infects about nine million people worldwide every year. 32 per cent are infected from India out of the nine million people. Many people are not even aware that they have the infection as it remains dormant for years before it becomes infectious.
The tuberculosis bacterium is alarmed by the white blood cells called macrophages. A macrophage is an important part of our immune system and is an amoeba-like organism and works to clean the body of microscopic invaders and debris. The macrophage has the innate ability to eat all the invaders including fungi, viruses, bacteria and parasites. However instead of killing the bacteria, it forms a sac-like body called granuloma around it that keeps the bacteria dormant for as long as it’s present. This sac gets ruptured when your immunity is lowered due to weakness or any other illness like HIV. TB is a leading killer among HIV people.
The innovative cure for tuberculosis
A team of scientists from the Kolkata-based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Bose Institute in Kolkata and Jadavpur University have found that tuberculosis is released from the sacs granuloma formed by the macrophages around them and the granuloma keeps the TB bacteria in control. This matter has been researched and studied for years with no optimistic result.
Scientists found that these TB bacteria secrete a protein called MPT63, which can be the reason behind breaking of the sac. These protein structures change their formation and unexpectedly become toxic to the host cells (macrophages) whenever there is acidity. This results in killing the cell and releasing the bacteria.
Dr Krishnananda Chattopadhyay, the Head of Structural Biology and Bioinformatics Division said that their team will try to validate these findings in field strains of TB bacillus and observe whether they can be used to develop new therapeutic interventions. With this discovery, scientists are looking for methods to negate the effect of the MPT63 protein which keeps the TB locked-in permanently and can save millions of patients every year.
The results of the study will be soon published in the Journal of ACS Chemical Biology.