Saturday, 2 April 2011

Red chilli cure for multi-drug resistant cholera pathogen

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 20: Researchers have found a new cure in red chilli for the cholera pathogen that has developed resistant to a number of available drugs.
Fighting cholera pathogen, Vibrio cholerae strains, has become a challenging task for doctors in the country as it has turned multi-drug resistant. The cholera strains, now circulating in India, have developed mutations. Thus they do not quite often respond to powerful antimicrobial agents like tetracycline, ampicillin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulphonamides, trimethoprim, gentamicin and ciprofloxacin.
Senior researcher Dr NS Basu, who carried out the study in association with a team of Japanese scientists, said the rise in multi-drug resistant Vibrio cholerae strains is a big problem in treatment of patients suffering from severe cholera. Red chilli powder has effectively controlled the multi-drug resistant cholerae strains by inhibiting the virulence of the bacteria. The results are more than 90 per cent successful.
"Our research has shown that capsaicin and other natural substances present in red chilli inhibited the production of cholera toxins different cholera strains regardless of their serogroups and biotypes. Capsaicin dramatically reduced the expression of major virulence-related genes. Regular intake of red chilli may be a good approach to fight against devastating cholera," he pointed out.
Cholera is caused by different strains of Vibrio cholerae bacterium. The strains, O1 and O139 serogroups, produce cholera toxin. These strains have evolved to become more troublesome after attaining resistance to a number of drugs.
"The emergence and spread of multi-drug resistant pathogenic bacteria have created the need for the development of novel therapeutic agents. Inhibiting bacterial virulence factor by natural compounds is a new approach to overcome increased antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Red chilli and one of its active compounds capsaicin is one such natural compound. Since red chilli is a natural compound, the bacteria will not develop resistance against it," Dr Basu said.

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