Tuberculosis is the most deadly infectious disease that exists. It is the killer of 4,400 people daily. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to aid in the battle against this disease. Doctors and scientists are hopeful.
The World Health Organization data shows us that more there are about 500,000 to 1,000,000 new people diagnosed with this disease annually. 127 countries around the globe have individuals that suffer from this disease.
Tuberculosis affects the lungs of a person, and treatment can be tricky. It has also become increasingly drug-resistant because of methods of treatment that are unsuccessful and last more than 18 months.
New treatment for Tuberculosis gives new hope
TB Alliance is a non-profit organization that has come up with a new compound called “pretomanid.” The FDA has approved this on Wednesday. Pretomanid is part of a brand new three-drug treatment that patients have to ingest over a period of 6 months. Two of the drug-resistant strains that exist are treated by pretomanid: MDR-TB and XDR-TB.
Dr. Francesca Conradie is the senior investigator of the drug trial. According to her, Tuberculosis is drug-resistant, meaning that there were very few and very ineffective treatment methods available.
Aided by Pretomanid, this new and straightforward three-drug treatment being, Dr. Conradie is confident. She hopes that 9 out of 10 Tuberculosis patients will be negative in a culture test 6 months after this oral treatment ends.
Scientists have tested the safety and utility of pretomanid. In South Africa, pretomanid is combined with the previously approved drug bedaquiline and with antibiotic linezolid.
107 tuberculosis patients took part in the study for six months post-treatment. 95 patients of the patients tested negative for the disease. This is a success rate of about 89%.
South Africa bears a heavy burden of Tuberculosis and other air-borne diseases. High levels of HIV only makes people more susceptible to contracting Tuberculosis because of weakened immunity levels.
Why this treatment is essential
In the past 40 years, the FDA has approved of only three new medicines to treat Tuberculosis, pretomanid is the third. The new drug is hopefully going to be available in the United States of America by the end of this year. The World Health Organization and European Medicines Agency will probably also approve this drug soon after that.
Limited treatment options for multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis, and extensively drug-resistant Tuberculosis is the reason that it is a severe public health threat. The bacteria that develops Tuberculosis is known to develop resistance for all kinds of anti-biotics quickly.
Previous treatment regimens have been thoroughly complex and very time-consuming, around 18 months in some cases. Patients would sometimes have to take up to 8 different drugs and injections. A side effect of these treatments was loss of hearing in some cases.
The new treatment would be quicker, simpler with less detrimental side effects and with a higher success rate. It is a victory of all the people around the world suffering from Tuberculosis. Hence, countries that have had generations affected by this vicious disease can also feel hopeful now.