Researchers at UCLA have discovered a new combination of drugs to cure tuberculosis. The new drug promises to bring the usual six-month medication course down to one and a half month. The team discovered the drug with the help of an artificial intelligence platform.
Currently, tuberculosis is a major concern worldwide. There are over 10 million tuberculosis patients worldwide each year. Additionally, nearly 1.7 billion people are affected with the TB bacteria. The bacteria can lie in silence for years before affecting 10% of the people with TB.
Moreover, tuberculosis treatment is really long, taking up to six to eight months. This results in several patients quitting the treatment, developing an allergic reaction, and many dying due to drug-resistant TB.
The UCLA scientists believe they have found a potent weapon in a fight against tuberculosis. They developed a mechanism called, ‘artificial intelligence-parabolic response surface’. The platform driven by artificial intelligence empowered them to combine various drug therapies and zoom in on a few combinations among billions.
A New Lease of Life
These new treatments promise a new lease of life for TB patients who have developed a drug-resistance. According to Dr. Marcus Horiwitz, the lead researcher, the study promises faster cures and hence, more adherence to the regime from patients. PLOS One, a peer-reviewed journal published the study recently.
The co-author of the study, Chih Ming Ho, developed the platform. The platform can be a light in a tunnel for research on major illnesses like cancer, infectious diseases, and organ transplants.
The research study combined various potent regimens such as bedaquiline,clofazimine,pyrazinamide, and delamanid or other choices like amoxicillin. This combination proved to be a boon for the mice in the study. The mice were cured of tuberculosis in three weeks. Mice treated with conventional drugs required 16 to 20 weeks to avail a 100 percent relapse—free cure.
The researchers may soon begin human trials. Furthermore, they promise to develop even more potent combinations, in the near future.