TB is bacterial disease caused by “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” bacteria that most often affect the lungs. The disease is spread from person to person through the air. It commonly affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is the second biggest killer disease worldwide next only to HIV/AIDS.
According to WHO :-
- 423,000 Indians die each year of tuberculosis (TB), which is about 1,159 people a day.
- Standard TB-drug treatments are ineffective for nearly 1,30,000 of the 2.8 million TB patients in India.
- The South-East Asia region is home to one-fourth of the global population, also contains a disproportionately high 46 percent of TB disease cases recorded worldwide.
New Drugs in the Market :-
- Bedaquiline :-
Bedaquiline is the first new anti-TB drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 20 years (Rifampicin was approved in 1974). It is also the first to be introduced specifically for the treatment of drug-resistant TB.
These two drugs could benefit such patients with drug-resistant (DR) TB with a success rate of approximately 70%. The Indian government says that nearly 13,000-20,000 patients qualify for treatment with these drugs but as of today there are 1,000 patients on bedaquiline and another 81 on delamanid in India’s national programme, which has received these drugs as a donation from the innovator pharmaceutical companies.
Various studies on these two new drugs :-
- A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases last month found that 74% of the cohort ‘converted to negative’ within six months, meaning they were successfully treated which led to the researchers advocating a scale-up of both medicines.
- The study by humanitarian aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) concludes that access to bedaquiline and delamanid in combination should be expanded for people with few treatment options while awaiting the results of formal clinical trials.
TB Summit In India :-
End TB Summit which will began on 13th March is going to be held in New Delhi to review ongoing efforts and accelerate action to reach the 2030 End TB goal which is hosted by India’s Health and Family Welfare Ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Stop TB Partnership.
The Delhi End TB Summit builds on the Delhi Call to Action adopted by member countries of WHO SEARO in March 2017 and the WHO Global Ministerial Conference “Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response”, held in Moscow in November last year.
Way Ahead :-
While the drugs have proved their efficacy on smaller cohorts, they are yet to pass large-scale safety and efficacy tests, or phase III of clinical trials, which are necessary for India’s drug regulator approval. Between 70% and 90% of drugs that enter this stage successfully complete phase III. Going by the evidence from cohorts of patients currently on bedaquiline and delamanid, these two drugs are vastly better than standard treatment options.