The Express Tribune
Tue, 21 May 2013 16:19 CDT
© The Express Tribune
The authors of the new study urged further research into the potential uses of Vitamin C in TB treatment, stressing it was "inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use."
Scientists said Tuesday they had managed to kill lab-grown tuberculosis (TB) bacteria with good old Vitamin C - an "unexpected" discovery they hope will lead to better, cheaper drugs.
A team from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York made the accidental find while researching how TB bacteria become resistant to the TB drug isoniazid.
The researchers added isoniazid and a "reducing agent" known as cysteine to the TB in a test tube, expecting the bacteria to develop drug resistance.
Instead, the team "ended up killing off the culture", according to the study's senior author William Jacobs, who said the result was "totally unexpected".
Reducing agents chemically reduce other substances.
The team then replaced the cysteine in the experiment with another reducing agent - Vitamin C. It, too, killed the bacteria.
"I was in disbelief," said Jacobs of the outcome published in the journal Nature Communications.
"Even more surprisingly... when we left out the TB drug isoniazid and just had Vitamin C alone, we discovered that Vitamin C kills tuberculosis."