The observation that liveMycobacterium leprae on entry into macrophages from lepromatous leprosy patients reduced the number of EA rosetting macrophages, was extended to macrophages from Swiss white mice also. Further, the fact that deadMycobacterium leprae do not bring about such a change in macrophages from mice, allowed us to develop this into a bacterial viability testing system. Thus drug treated macrophages in the presence ofMycobacterium leprae showed normal rosetting ability ifMycobacterium leprae are inactivated by the drug, but showed reduced level of rosetting when bacteria were not susceptible to the drug. It was shown that a drug like dapsone, does act onMycobacterium leprae based on its permeability, quantity available inside the macrophages and inhibition of its action by Para amino benzoic acid. The inactivation ofMycobacterium leprae by sulphone and rifampicin was also proved by the flourescence diacetate method, which showed poorly viable bacteria after exposure to drugs. Thus it has been possible to develop a rapid drug screening method for testing the activity of unknown compound againstMycobacterium leprae.
Volume 46, 2021
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