Researchers are working hard to bring two new drugs on to the arsenal against tuberculosis (TB). With the introduction of these two, a significant reduction in the number of deaths & delay in response shall be achieved with increased efficiency.
TB has been one of the deadliest diseases that threatens millions around the globe. In 2015 alone, a whopping 10.4 million new cases were reported according to WHO report, despite the strong media awareness and precautions. If you take top 10 causes of deaths, TB is one among them. But the good news is that there are treatments available for the disease, however recent bacterial drug resistance is creating headache making it difficult to completely get rid of it. Existing methodologies includes a battery of injections and tablets, were sometimes patients might have to take around 20 tablets a day. In order to put a period to TB conquest, researchers have developed two new drugs which could bridle the disease to a greater extent, they are BPaMZ & BPaL which are used to treat both varieties of TB.
While the majority of patients are caught by the ordinary TB, a minority have a chance to get the drug resistance version, where the usual stuff won’t work with them. In these patients, the treatment might take anywhere between 1.5 ~ 2 years to cure, whereas the non-resistant version takes around 6 months. With the introduction of BPaMZ and BPaL, this time frame is significantly reduced, where the ordinary TB can be cured within 4 months with just 4 drugs a day and the resistant TB can be cured in just 6 months with 3 drugs a day. According to the TB alliance, they haven’t seen anything rapid like this in the recent. The results of the clinical study carried out with these drugs were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.
In the clinical study, 240 patients were tested with the BPaMZ and 60 with BPaL from 10 African countries. In the BPaMZ, almost all cases were cured in just under 6 months whereas the 40 out 60 patients were cured of the drug –resistant TB using BPaL. The promising part was that traces of the bacterium disappeared from the sputum before hitting the two-month mark after drug administration. This factor is highly relevant because lesser the bacterium persists in the cough and sputum, lower will be the risk of spreading. Though the test results are highly promising, a wide-scale clinical study might be required before making a final conclusion regarding these two drugs. So it might take another 1 to 3 years for these drugs to hit the market.