Tags: Health Topics | drug resistance | tuberculosis | tb | bacteria

New Drugs Could Soon Be Useless Against TB

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By    |   Friday, 24 Mar 2017 01:22 PM

New drugs are on the scene to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis, but without clear guidelines on appropriate use and strict dosing requirements, they could quickly become useless, researchers warn.

Tuberculosis is a life-threatening bacterial infection (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that attacks mainly the lungs — and it's a major killer. In 2015, TB claimed 1.8 million lives. But it's the drug-resistant variety in particular that have doctors alarmed. In the next three decades, drug-resistant strains of TB deaths could increase by 2.4 million per year — to 4 million annually—according to a report published by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.

The problem is widespread: Right now, about 1 in 5 cases of TB is resistant to at least one anti-TB drug, and approximately 5 percent of all cases are classified as multidrug-resistant (resistant to the first-line TB drugs isoniazid and rifampicin) or extensively drug-resistant (also resistant to fluoroquinolones and second-line drugs).

Globally, in 2015, there were an estimated 480,000 cases of the multidrug-resistant type, with approximately half of these cases being in India, China, and Russia. And just six countries account for 60 percent of the total number of TB cases: India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa. But as is clearly evident with Zika, migration and travel can combine to bring infection to every part of the world.

The extensive overuse of antibiotics worldwide has led to a rise in bacteria that are drug resistant. And the rise of drug-resistant cases threatens to overthrow progress on the disease, according to a new report in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine published on World TB day, March 24.

Until recently, it was thought that drug-resistant strains of TB were less transmissible, and that drug-resistant strains were mainly acquired as a result of poor treatment compliance. However, recent studies, have challenged this belief. In most regions of the world, drug-resistant TB is now predominantly caused by transmission.

Dr. Zarir Udwadia, from the Hinduja Hospital & Research Center in Mumbai, India, and co-author of the report, said: "TB exists on an epic scale in India, and cases of multidrug resistant TB are an increasing concern. Access to drugs to treat TB, including drug resistant TB is a major concern. Despite some small-scale programs for compassionate use of new life-saving drugs such as bedaquiline and delamanid, there is no widespread access in India, meaning these drugs remain unavailable to patients who need them most."

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New drugs are on the scene to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis, but without clear guidelines on appropriate use and strict dosing requirements, they could quickly become useless, researchers warn.
drug resistance, tuberculosis, tb, bacteria
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2017-22-24
Friday, 24 Mar 2017 01:22 PM
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