A group of Mexican scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) developed an antibiotic against tuberculosis (TB) from scorpion venom. TB is a disease that causes 45,000 people to die every day. In 2016, the National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control (CENAPRECE) reported 2,569 deaths from tuberculosis in Mexico, and 21,184 new cases throughout the country.
According to the information, the experts of the UNAM Biotechnology Institute isolated, produced and patented two compounds capable of fighting strains of this Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria and golden staphylococcus (Staphylococcus aureus). In addition, the compounds are effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells without causing damage to lung tissue.
The treatment against tuberculosis lasts approximately six months, so patients abandon it. Due to this, those affected generate resistant strains that require more antibiotics and extend the medication for up to four years.
The new university compounds can contribute to solving this problem, an important step from the point of view of public health.
“Laboratory work with biological models is already done and works; now clinical trials are required in humans, and a pharmacist who is interested can get this product to people, ”said.
Research leader Lourival Domingos Possani Postay said that they have finished laboratory testing; now they are seeking to take it to clinical trials.
The first of the compounds discovered is red, and was called 3,5-dimethoxy-2- (methylthio) cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione, which was shown to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria causing skin infections, sepsis, endocarditis and pneumonia.
The second is blue and was called 5-methoxy-2,3-bis (methylthio) cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione, effective against the mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis. Both components are capable of preventing the development of certain neoplastic cell lineages, and are efficient as antibiotics.
The researcher explained that because the amount of compound that can be obtained from living scorpions is very small, “it was essential to obtain them in a chemical way.”
In order to synthesize them artificially, the support of Richard Zare’s laboratory at Stanford University in California was required, where was determined the structure of both antibiotics by mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance studies.
The head of the study said that because they have already obtained the patent of the antibiotics, they have been working for many years.
Source: Agencia ID