Study shows success against TB with combo therapy

An experimental combination of medication was recently proven capable of killing regular and drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis.

Researchers from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town demonstrated that a three drug combination known as PaMZ was effective in eliminating 99 percent of TB bacteria within two weeks, according to

The new combination does not contain isoniazid or rifampicin, the main treatments used against TB. Therefore, it may prove to be especially useful against strains that fail to react to frontline drugs.

The researchers said that PaMZ could shorten treatment time by more than two years and may ultimately be 90 percent cheaper than current drugs used against drug-resistant TB.

"We may have a major solution here for drug-sensitive TB and drug-resistant TB," Mario Raviglione, the director of the World Health Organization's Stop TB Partnership, said, reports. "This will change policies worldwide."

The study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared five treatment regimens.

Andreas Diacon, the research team's leader, said that it could have taken 10 to 20 years to develop a treatment had each drug been tested separately before being tried in combination.

"We have been losing our tools to combat this epidemic," Diacon said, reports.

PaMZ is made up of a new drug, PA-824; an approved front-line antibiotic, moxifloxacin; and an existing TB drug, pyrazinamide.