According to a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients will now benefit from cheaper treatment and rapid diagnostic tests.
The target is to find ways to treat them more efficiently and to speed up detection thanks to this new rapid diagnostic test. The report stated that less than $1,000 per MDR-TB patient (multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) is needed and the time of treatment may vary from 9 to 12 months which is not long.
Besides being cheap, another significant advantage is that it might also lead to a drop-off in the number of deaths thanks to a better response to the treatment. According to the Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme, Dr. Mario Raviglione, this is a vital breakthrough against the health crisis of MDR-TB cases.
Moreover, the WHO recommendations provide tests which quickly identify how bad the situation is, and then the patients are offered the complete treatment in half of the usual time and at almost half the cost.
Regular treatment regimens are known to vary from 18 to 24 months to complete with only 50 percent chances of cure, mainly because it is too much for patients to take the second-line drugs on a daily basis. Why? Because they are very toxic on a long term.
According to the report, this new method is designed for patients with primary MDR-TB, for example, people whose MDR-TB backs down in front of fluoroquinolones and injectables, previously mentioned as second-line drugs. But the regimen is also recommended in the case of patients who never took the second-line drugs.
Around 1,200 patients with uncomplicated MDR-TB in 10 countries were involved in the initial programmatic regimen provided by WHO.
Based on the report, the most efficient way to eliminate the resistance to second-line drugs is to use the diagnostic test in national TB laboratories. This novel diagnostic test is known as MTBDRsl, an analysis based on DNA, that can identify genetic mutations in MDR-TB strains which make them resistant to injectable second line-TB drugs and fluoroquinolones.
According to the WHO reports, less than 20 percent of almost 480,000 MDR-TB patients around the world are currently provided with the correct treatment.
Dr. Karin Weyer, Co-ordinator of Laboratories, Diagnostics and Drug Resistance of WHO Global TB Programme hopes that if the diagnosis is fast and the treatment is short, then more and more multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients will be adequately treated.