Shorter course of antibiotics may aid in preventing full-blown TB

A simpler and shorter course of antibiotics could help to prevent full-blown tuberculosis in those infected with the bacterium that causes TB, especially in those concurrently infected with HIV.

A new study conducted by an international team of researchers looked at over a thousand South African men and women infected with both TB and HIV. The study followed the patients for six years to determine whose TB infections remained dormant, according to

The study determined that the most streamlined combination treatment - a high dose of the newer antibiotic rifapentine and the traditional isoniazid taken once weekly for three months - worked as well or better than isoniazid only taken daily for six months or longer.

About 3.1 percent of the volunteers on the streamlined regimen developed active TB or died within one year, in comparison to 3.6 among the standard regimen, reports. The researchers said that the mortality rate would have doubled without any treatment.

Compliance rates for the streamlined regimen were 95 percent, compared to 60 percent for the standard regimen.

"This new, simpler treatment regimen with rifapentine and isoniazid is highly effective and could transform therapy for latent tuberculosis in both those co-infected with HIV and those not," senior author Dr. Richard Chaisson said, reports. "New treatment options are urgently needed to help control TB globally, and simpler regimens will substantially increase the number of people receiving therapy."