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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Accidental Find Shows Vitamin C Kills Tuberculosis

Staff Writer

May 24, 2013

Economic Times (05.21.2013) Aids Weekly Plus

Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have discovered that Vitamin C kills the TB bacteria. They report that they made the discovery accidentally while investigating how the bacteria develop resistance to the anti-TB drug isoniazid. The researchers added isoniazid and the reducing agent cysteine to the TB bacteria in a test tube with the expectation that the bacteria would develop resistance. Instead, the researchers killed the TB culture. Next, the researchers replaced the cysteine with another reducing agent, Vitamin C, and it killed the bacteria also. When the researchers omitted the TB drug isoniazid and used Vitamin C alone, the outcome was the same—it killed the bacteria. They tested Vitamin C with drug-resistant TB strains and had the same result. Also, the TB bacteria never developed resistance to Vitamin C in the laboratory tests. William Jacobs, the study’s senior author, emphasized that so far, researchers have demonstrated these results only in a test tube. The researchers did not know if it would work with humans and, if so, at what dosage. The authors urged additional research into potential uses of Vitamin C in TB treatment, noting that it was “inexpensive, widely available, and very safe to use.” The full report, “Mycobacterium tuberculosis is Extraordinarily Sensitive to Killing by a Vitamin C-Induced Fenton Reaction,” was published in the journal Nature Communications (2013; doi:10.1038/ncomms2898).