Researchers release findings of MDR-TB studies in China

Two tuberculosis research groups released findings on Thursday from studies on drug-resistant TB at the national level in China and the new antibiotic delamanid and its use on multi-drug resistant TB.

The first study, a survey of drug-resistant TB in China, confirmed that China has a major problem when it comes to MDR-TB, with the most annual MDR-TB cases in the world. The researchers suggest that more interventions should be made to prevent MDR-TB in China including improved hospital treatment, better systems for definitive diagnosis and resistance testing at local clinics before treatment begins, CIDRAP News reports.

The study was conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007. It used cluster-randomized sampling to determine that 43.8 percent of previously treated MDR-TB patients did not complete their final treatment. In addition, 90.6 percent of patients who did complete their treatment regimen experienced a TB relapse.

Researchers for the second study reported findings from a trial of the new TB medication delamanid. Delamanid is a mycolic acid synthesis inhibitor that has shown in vivo and in vitro activity against drug-resistant TB strains. Patients receiving 100 miligram doses of the drug experienced a 45.4 percent sputum-culture conversion, defined as five consecutive weekly negative cultures for the TB bacteria, compared with 29.6 percent of patients taking the placebo. Patients taking the 200 miligram dose experienced a 41.9 percent conversion, according to CIDRAP News.

The studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine along with an accompanying editorial. In the editorial, Eric Nuermberger said that while the advent of new antibiotics is positive, better information about what drug combinations work most effectively and the guidelines to use such antibiotics are more important.