Indian drug-resistant TB cases responding well

Five tuberculosis patients in a Mumbai hospital who are infected with a form of the illness that shows resistance to all known TB drugs are reportedly responding well to treatment.

Dr. Zarir Udwadia, a consultant chest physician at Hinduja Hospital where the patients are located, said that the five have had negative sputum samples for approximately one month, according to HindustanTimes.com.

"The patients have been put on a 'salvage regime' consisting of four antibiotics used on diseases other than TB," Dr. Udwadia said, HindustanTimes.com reports. "Five of the first 12 patients are smear negative. This shows that they are on the road to recovery, but they obviously have a long way to go and can become positive again over a period of time if the resistant strains of bacteria re-assert themselves."

Three of the 12 confirmed initial cases of what Indian health experts are calling totally drug-resistant TB have died. The terminology TDR-TB has not been accepted by the World Health Organization, but the Indian National Tuberculosis Institute recently confirmed the infections to be different from what the WHO calls extensively drug-resistant TB.

"In this case, there are almost no options. However, there is some hope for these patients with the salvage regimen," Dr. Udwadia said, HindustanTimes.com reports.