Common Glaucoma Drug to Treat TB?

Researchers have recently discovered that the sulfa-based compound ethoxzolamide found in many drugs for glaucoma treatment can be used successfully to treat tuberculosis (TB).

Researchers have recently discovered that the sulfa-based compound ethoxzolamide found in many drugs for glaucoma treatment can be used successfully to treat tuberculosis (TB).

The research, published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, showed that the ethoxzolamide compound essentially shuts down the TB bacterium’s ability to permeate the immune system and grow inside certain white blood cells.

After screening 273,000 compounds in mice models, many tests indicated, “ethoxzolamide reduced M. tuberculosis growth in both macrophages and infected mice.”

While the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated nearly two billion people are infected with the TB bacteria around the global, within the majority of incidences, the immune system works to control the infection.

However, it’s when the immune system becomes weak that problems arise — as the bacterium could trump the immune system thus rapidly spreading. Robert Abramovitch, assistant professor of microbiology, commented, “The compound we found inhibits TB’s ability to detect acidic environments effectively blindfolding the bacterium so it can’t resist the immune system’s assault.”

The research team was impressed to find that not only could this compound potentially prevent the spread of TB, but could also shorten the treatment period — simultaneously handling the associated problem of drug resistance.