Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bacterium from Ram Sethu or Adam's Bridge to help treat multi drug resistant and extensive drug resistant strains of tuberculosis

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge may have raised
political controversy, but a type of bacteria that lives in the
vicinity holds promise to treat multi drug resistant and extensive
drug resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) and the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Novel Streptomyces species R2, isolated from coral reef ecosystem off
the coast of Rameswaram in the vicinity of Ram Sethu, produces a
substance called transitmycin, which is anti-bacterial and anti-viral
in nature. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to
utilise this natural substance from novel Streptomyces species R2 to
fight the health menace of TB strains that have developed resistant to
many known drugs.

Once the mandatory toxicity and bioavailability tests are completed, a
new drug obtained from transitmycin will be available in the market.
ICMR has proposed to complete bioavailability and toxicity tests
through research institutions or laboratories in the country. The
substance will be tested for acute toxicity in rodents as part of the
ICMR-sponsored research.

According to an ICMR research proposal, transitmycin shows activity
against drug sensitive and drug resistant M tuberculosis including
multi-drug and extra drug resistant isolates, and different clades of
HIV. ICMR scientists have found the structure of transitmycin to be

Fighting tuberculosis has become a major health challenge as the
TB-causing bacterium has become resistant to most of the known drugs.
This calls for development of new drugs to fight TB effectively.
Indian scientists are now increasingly looking at the sea for new drug
molecules. Their search led to the discovery of new strains of
Streptomyces bacteria living in the Ram Sethu area.

Besides, anti TB and anti HIV activity, the substance can act against
dormant bacilli of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other bacterial
pathogens. It is also found to be active against non-replicative
tubercle bacilli.

“The process of production of compound is simple and economically
viable. It is a low molecular weight compound with simple structure.
An Indian patent application and PCT application have been filed for
this technology,” the research proposal added.

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