Infectious diseases are undoubtedly one of the leading causes of death in today’s world. Viral, bacterial, parasitic, fungal and other infections cause such common diseases and health conditions as the flu, cystitis, AIDS, herpes, typhus, rabies, candidiasis, tuberculosis, cholera, and many more. A lot of such kind of diseases are contagious and can strike a great deal of people causing epidemics and thousands of deaths. Fortunately, in our times the humanity knows how to treat or at least keep most of these diseases under control. In addition, every day new studies and researches are being initiated in order to find new and more effective cures or medications for infectious diseases. In particular, it has been recently reported that a group of scientists in the Philippines are conducting an extensive study aiming to find new treatments for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases among the marine plants and microorganisms, including sponges, and many others.
Tuberculosis (or TB) is an infectious disease which is currently diagnosed in over 8 million people around the world. Causes of tuberculosis include exposure to such micro-bacteria as Mycobacterium tuberculosis which attack the lungs of a person and cause symptoms like serious chest pains, prolonged coughs, fever, night sweats, severe loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, sometimes weight loss, and so on. This type of bacteria is usually spread via air and can easily be inhaled by healthy people, that’s how this disease is being spread. Specialists define a few groups of risk factors for this disease:
- Impaired function of the immune system. People with weak immune system, as well as those people who suffer from cancer, diabetes mellitus, AIDS, kidney disease, or other health conditions may have increased chances to suffer from tuberculosis.
- Living or working in the places where tuberculosis disease is common (a hospital, a refugee camp, etc.)
- Suffering from substance abuse. Alcohol, nicotine, or drugs dependent people have increased chances to catch tuberculosis virus.
- Living is poor or abandoned areas where there is a lack of proper hygiene and proper medical care.
- Living in the areas with high risks and rates of tuberculosis, like India, China, former countries of the Soviet camp, etc.
There is a number of common medications to be used to treat tuberculosis, lower the effects of the stated bacterial causes of tuberculosis, and improve the condition of patients. However, most of the existing medications and drugs for this disease have plenty of side effects including digestive system disorders, toxicity, or too long time frame necessary to kill the infection. A great deal of scientists are looking for more effective approaches and treatments for tuberculosis, and according to the Philippine Department of Science and Technology, a group of local experts has been advancing in working with microorganisms to find a new treatment technology. It is reported that earlier this spring, specialists from University of Philippines managed to isolate certain elements of sea fauna, with very strong anti-infective properties.
Several years ago, the same team of scientists has celebrated their discovery of a new effective anti-pain treatment received from underwater snails. In a similar way, special anti-pain compounds were isolated from snail tissues, which were supposed to be used for creating new natural painkillers. This discovery of the Philippine researchers are now on the stage of being put to the production of drugs. The current project on finding new natural treatments for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases could give a hope to thousands of those who suffer from this terrible disease and can not use the existing medications and treatment technology to effectively combat the condition.
Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.