A new treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis as a standard treatment

A new treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis as a standard treatment


Good news! The World Health Organization has adopted the drug-resistant TB treatment that we have developed as a standard method of treatment. The new treatment offers a greater chance of survival, is shorter and better tolerated. This means fewer side effects and pills to swallow instead of very painful injections. This way, many more people can be treated and healed faster.

Nurse Prachi performs a physical examination of Vedant to see if he has drug-resistant TB. © Prem Hessenkamp, ​​February 24, 2022.

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Every year, half a million people get multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, a drug-resistant variant. The current treatment is almost worse than the disease itself: patients receive heavy injection chemotherapy with severe side effects. That is why MSF has developed this new treatment. Our goal was for the new method of treatment to be adopted as a standard by the World Health Organization, and it is now a done deal.

Vaishnavi, a 7-year-old DRTB patient, is receiving her medication from her mother
Vaishnavi, a 7-year-old DRTB patient, is receiving her medication from her mother. © Prem Hessenkamp, ​​February 24, 2022.

Clinical research for a new treatment

The clinical trial tested the new treatment in 552 people with drug-resistant tuberculosis in Uzbekistan, South Africa and Belarus. The new therapy was compared to the current standard therapy. The trial showed that the shorter treatment is very effective in curing drug-resistant tuberculosis. ; 89% of people were cured, compared with 52% in the older, more severe group. Now recommended by the World Health Organization, this treatment can be used in many places around the world as a standard model.

Nurse Prachi performs a physical examination of Vaishnavi's brother
Nurse Prachi does a physical examination of Vaishnavi’s brother to see if anything is bothering him. © Prem Hessenkamp, ​​February 24, 2022.

We would like to thank all the people with drug-resistant tuberculosis who participated in our research. With them, we have made sure that others have the chance to receive better treatment.

BERN-THOMAS NYANG’WA, DOCTOR AND TB-PRACTECAL RESEARCH TEAM MANAGER

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