Research for new TB drug launched
Aims to create a strict regimen to cure patients in just a month
Seven pharmaceutical companies and four research institutions have come together to research in order to find new treatments for tuberculosis.
The partnership, known as the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA), will target the discovery of new tuberculosis (TB) drugs. The aim of TBDA is to create a drug regimen that cures patients in one month.
Existing drugs require six months to cure the disease — a lengthy process that causes 20 to 30 per cent patients to drop out before completion.
Aided by nearly $20 million from the Gates Foundation, TBDA plans in next ten years it will develop three-drug regimen for one month instead of the present six-month course.
In India the need for discovery of new drugs was felt when four people with total drug resistant (TDR) tuberculosis (TB) were found in Mumbai. Even though the officials said they were multi-drug resistant (MDR) cases not TDR, they agreed that MDR and extreme drug resistant (XDR) cases are on a rise.
“As people do not finish their six-month course, their bodies do not get rid of TB bacteria. However, immunity against the administered drug develops and the patient becomes resistant to that drug,” said Dr R P Vashist, former state TB officer, Delhi.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that attacks the respiratory system and other organs.
It is the second leading infectious cause of death worldwide, having killed nearly 1.4 million people in 2010 alone.
At any given moment, more than 12 million people around the world are suffering from active TB.
Dr Carl Nathan, professor and chairman, department of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York said, “TB drug discovery has reached a crossroads.
Finding new and faster-acting TB drugs will take a new kind of partnership, connecting not only academia and industry, but drug company with drug company.”