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New anti-tuberculosis drug

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

 

New anti-tuberculosis drug

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the new drug, Need for, and concerns associated with drug resistant tb.

 

Context: U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug Pretomanid for treating drug-resistant tuberculosis — multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

 

Key facts:

  1. Pretomanid is only the third new anti-TB drug approved for use by FDA in more than 40 years.
  2. Pretomanid will be part of the three-drug regimen for drug approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
  3. The duration of treatment for drug-resistant TB can be drastically cut from 18-24 months to just six-nine months when pretomanid drug is used along with two already approved drugs — bedaquiline and linezolid.
  4. The all-oral, three-drug regimen can also vastly improve the treatment success rate and potentially decrease the number of deaths due to better adherence to treatment.

How widespread is MDR-TB and XDR-TB? 

People with TB who do not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, which are first-line TB drugs are said to have MDR-TB.

People who are resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin) are said to have XDR-TB.

  • As per the World Health Organisation’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018, an estimated 4.5 lakh people across the world have MDR-TB and nearly 37,500 people have XDR-TB.
  • India has 24% of MDR-TB cases in the world. By the end of 2017, XDR-TB had been reported from 127 countries, including India.

 

What is tuberculosis (TB)?

It is a disease caused by bacteria that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.

In most cases, TB is treatable and curable; however, persons with TB can die if they do not get proper treatment.

 

How does drug resistance happen?

Resistance to anti-TB drugs can occur when these drugs are misused or mismanaged. Examples include when patients do not complete their full course of treatment; when health-care providers prescribe the wrong treatment, the wrong dose, or length of time for taking the drugs; when the supply of drugs is not always available; or when the drugs are of poor quality.

 

 

Way ahead:

Making the drug affordable to those with extreme form of drug resistance will be highly commendable and a desperately needed model to be followed. After all, there is a compulsion to keep the prices low and increase treatment uptake to stop the spread of highly drug-resistant TB bacteria.

 

Sources: the Hindu.