New Find Popular over-the-counter heartburn drug could be used in curing tuberculosis

Lead researcher, Professor Stewart Cole said "being highly active against drug-resistant strains M. tuberculosis, this novel class of drugs provides us with an excellent opportunity to treat tuberculosis.”

  • Published:
play (Guardian)
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Scientists have said Prevacid, the common over-the-counter drug used to treat heartburn could help wipe out tuberculosis.

The antacid lansoprazole has been touted as an ‘excellent’ drug to help wage war on the infection; lansoprazole belongs to a class of drugs known as ‘proton-pump inhibitors’ that keep the stomach from pumping too much acid, thus preventing heartburn and ulcers.

Lead researcher, Professor Stewart Cole said "being highly active against drug-resistant strains M. tuberculosis, this novel class of drugs provides us with an excellent opportunity to treat tuberculosis.”

TB continues to be a global pandemic, second only to AIDS as the greatest single-agent killer in the world, and in 2013 alone, the TB bug mychobacterium tuberculosis was responsible for 1.5 million deaths and almost 9 million new infections.

Scientists at the Ecole Polythechnique Federale de Lausanne, in Switzerland, believe their findings point to lansoprazole as a potential future treatment for TB.

New TB drugs would take more than 10 years to complete trials and be approved for human use.

The Swiss scientists said being highly active against drug-resistant strains M. tuberculosis, this novel class of drugs provides us with an excellent opportunity to treat tuberculosis.

They also said the benefit of the system lies in its ability to work through massive libraries of potential drugs quickly and accurately in a short space of time.

Researchers at EPFL screened a large panel of already approved drugs, and their tests revealed lansoprazole as a good option for treating TB.

Also, when the scientists tested lansoprazole against a wide range of other bacteria, it proved to be highly selective for M. tuberculosis.

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