World TB Day: Tuberculosis Alliance announces final clinical trials for new drug regimen

The Tuberculosis Alliance announced the final clinical trials of a promising new drug regimen for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis on Monday.

"This novel TB drug regimen has the potential to unlock a new and more efficient approach to tackling TB," Dr. Mel Spigelman, the president of the Tuberculosis Alliance, said. "In essence, it's a step toward erasing the distinction between TB and Multi-Drug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB)."

The statement came at a World TB Day panel discussion with representatives from the NIH, FDA, and USAID.

Current treatments for TB require six to 30 months of treatment and are only marginally effective in cases of MDR-TB. The new drug regimen, however, would cut treatment time to approximately four months and eliminate the need for costly injections, effectively reducing the cost of treatment by 90 percent.

The announcement comes two years after Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner of the FDA, unveiled the Critical Path to TB Regimens, a broad cross-sector initiative to develop better TB drug therapies.

"The vision is to be able to treat TB as one would treat most uncomplicated bacterial infections, with only seven to 10 days of oral antibiotic therapy," Spigelman said.