WHO recommends new cheaper and speedier treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, which can potentially save thousands of lives worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a new cheaper and speedier treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis patients, which could possibly be a turning point in the battle against the deadly infection.
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The first part of the recommendation is speeding up the detection of the disease with novel rapid diagnostic test for patients suspected with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Then, a less costly and shorter treatment regimen for patients. These directives were made possible due to the operational research studies conducted by International Union Against TB and Lung Disease.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a leading infectious disease with nearly 500,000 people develops the disease worldwide. The disease is caused by bacteria that can spread from one person to another through the air and usually effects lungs. The disease is resistant to at least two potent TB drugs which are commonly used to treat TB patients.
Each year more than 190,000 MDR-TB patients lose their life and according to WHO, the higher percent is of those who do not get proper treatment.
The new diagnostic test – called MTBDRsl – yields results in just 24 to 48 hours compared to three months or longer conventional test. The faster the diagnoses, the faster a patient can be placed to treatment.
Conventional treatment for MDR-TB is longer, takes up to two years and also produce low cure rates with 50% of patients could not recover. This is largely because patients find it difficult to take second-line drugs as they are too toxic.
The new treatment could be a crucial step forward in dealing with deadly infectious disease. The treatment regimen can be completed in 9 to 12 months and at less than $1,000 per patient. This is not only shorter and less costly but is expected to produce improved results and could result in saving thousands of lives.
“This is a critical step forward in tackling the MDR-TB public health crisis,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Global TB Program. “The new WHO recommendations offer hope to hundreds of thousands of MDR-TB patients who can now benefit from a test that quickly identifies eligibility for the shorter regimen, and then complete treatment in half the time and at nearly half the cost.”
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