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New drug approved against DR-TB

In 2013, doctors were sounding the alarm as they were increasingly confronted with mycobacterium strains that were resistant known treatments. In a study performed at a hospital in Mumbai that year, two thirds of the 300 patients enrolled were deemed untreatable as their level of viral resistance would render any treatment obsolete.    

This, year, The World Tuberculosis Day has raised concerns about multi drug resistant strains of the bacteria. The issue of drug resistant organisms especially tuberculosis has been a concern for several years now, but due to strains recently discovered, a new classification has been developed known as TDR-TB (Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis). Depending on specific cases, these new strains are totally resistant to all treatment protocols. Most notably to Rifampicin, an antibiotic administered when treating severe cases of mycobacterium.

Latest figures from the Indian Ministry of health2 estimates the number of TB cases worldwide to be 9 million. 2.1 million are to be found in India. The bacteria, which is highly lethal to mammals is a major issue in large populations, especially in areas where human population is highly concentrated.

As such, the Indian government has recently approved the use of Bedaquiline3, a new molecule discovered by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which is said to be a new miracle drug as it has a different mechanisms of action compared to latest gold standards. Bedaquiline is to be tested in 104 districts within 5 states across India.

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