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6 Aug 2013

Vitamin C found to fight drug-resistant TB

A new discovery has suggested vitamin C could fight drug-resistant TB

Vitamin C has the ability to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), according to research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York.

Published in the online journal Nature Communications, the scientists discovered that the nutrient appeared to trigger free radicals in the body that killed the infection.

Although tests have not been carried out on humans or animals, Dr William Jacobs, professor of microbiology and immunology and of genetics at Einstein, is hopeful of conducting clinical trials.

"It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use," he said. "At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB."

Figures from the World Health Organisation suggest TB took about 1.4 million lives in 2011, with as many as 8.7 million people across the globe infected with the bacterium M tuberculosis.

Resistance to treatments is an increasing problem, with around 650,000 people thought to be multi-drug resistant to TB.

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