In the midst of reports about drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), it is easy to forget the great leaps and bounds that the field of TB research and treatment has taken. Let’s take a moment to remember the successes we have already attained and are working toward.
Doctors can already treat the majority of the almost 9 million new cases of TB each year, because most cases are of drug resistant TB, which can be cured by existing drugs.
New diagnostic tools have appeared on the markets that are saving a great number of lives.
In 2012, GeneXpert, a new diagnostic tool that can detect TB, and the most typical form of drug resistance in less than two hours began to be implemented in countries with high rates of TB.
GeneXpert’s great effect can already be seen in Indonesia’s achievement of a remarkable 90 percent success rate for TB treatment. Indonesia is one of only six countries in Southeast Asia that have introduced Xpert MTB/RIIF.
Also in 2012, bedaquiline, the first new TB drug in 40 years was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Promise of Future Successes:
In 2013, delamanid, another new drug to treat MDR-TB will be tested to receive regulatory approval in Europe.
The results of the REMox and PaMz studies, which are examining shorter treatment regimens for drug-sensitive TB, are expected to be released in the near future.
To continue this success in the field of TB research and treatment, it is necessary to have solid funding. Countries suffering from high rates of TB like China, India, and South Africa must increase their investments. Likewise, continued support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria is also crucial.
– Kasey Beduhn
Source: Impatient Optimists, The Jakarta Post
Photo: Doctors Without Borders