Delamanid shows success against MDR-TB

A novel type of antibiotic recently tested on patients with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis cleared the subjects' lung fluid of bacteria in half of the cases.

A multinational clinical trial of delamanid showed that volunteers who took the medication, along with a standard regimen of other anti-TB medications, had a greater chance of having the bacteria eliminated from sputum samples than those who simply took the older medication, according to Reuters.

Lawrence Geiter, a vice president at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., which produces delamanid, said the "conversion" of sputum samples happens more quickly in patients taking the drug.

In addition to developing delamanid, Otsuka also designed and funded the clinical trials, which took place nine countries.

"We saw what we think is a reasonable safety profile," Geiter said, Reuters reports. "(So) this could be the first new class of TB compounds that would be licensed in nearly a half century."

The results of the trial were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, along with an accompanying editorial calling the gain against multi-drug-resistant TB "significant but modest," Reuters reports.

"That's kind of a given. Any new class of TB drug is expected to work against drug resistant strains because they haven't had a chance to become resistant to it. That's the easier part in making a dent in TB," Scott G. Franzblau, the director of the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at the University of Illinois Chicago, said, Reuters reports.