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Treatment for extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis wins approval from US government



  MDR-TB ward in a hospital in Delhi, India

A man (left) with what health workers suspect is extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis waiting for a hospitals in India. Credit: Subhash Sharma / ZUMA

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug regimen to treat an extreme form of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).

Nearly 90% of people infected with extensive drug resistant TB (XDR) who took this treatment were recovered in 6 months during clinical trials. The success rate of current drug regimens used to treat XDR TB is approximately 34%.

A drug in the combination ̵

1; called pretomanide – is only the third new TB drug approved globally in nearly 50 years.

The therapy approved on August 14, developed by TB Alliance – a nonprofit research group in New York City – consists of pretomanid, along with two other drugs, bedaquiline and linezolid.

About half a million people are diagnosed with several drug-resistant TB each year and about 8.5% of these people have XDR TB, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Regular tuberculosis treatments do not work on XDR TB, so people with this extreme form of the disease must take a combination of about eight drugs for at least one and a half years. Even then, WHO reports that up to two-thirds of people still die from XDR TB.


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