See also:
» 02.02.2010 - SA announces measles outbreak
» 07.12.2009 - SA urged to improve health care for migrants
» 14.10.2008 - Breakthrough to new African mystery disease
» 04.09.2008 - 6 SA TB patients escape
» 23.10.2007 - South African scientists will rise to Gates' challenge
» 03.09.2007 - Row over South African minister’s health turns sour
» 13.09.2006 - Officials under pressure to contain deadly TB
» 02.05.2003 - Efforts to stop SARS from entering Africa

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South Africa
Health | Society

New hope for MDR TB patients

afrol News, 22 June - Researchers have found a new Tuberculosis drugs to treat the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patients in a clinical trial in South Africa.

In the trials which were carried in 20 patients given the standard therapy for MDR-TB for eight weeks and Diarylquinoline TMC207, more than half of the patients have been successfully treated, according to a statement from South African Medical Research Council's Clinical and Biomedical TB Research Unit based in Durban.

The statement further said the patients are being monitored to see if treatment will remain effective. The researchers said TMC207 works differently from other anti-tuberculosis drugs by targeting an enzyme of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the agent that causes TB.

According to researchers, TMC207 was discovered using an old method of drug discovery that has not been used in the last 40 years. “Modern approaches use computer software to identify drug targets and then design the desired drug, while this approach tests compounds on a rapidly growing relative of Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” the statement said.

The director of the Centre of Clinical Tuberculosis Research at the University of Stellenbosch Andreas Diacon said there was a significant difference in the rate in which tuberculosis disappeared within the eight weeks of drug administration.

“The drug works on both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB in the laboratory and the implications are that this new drug might shorten treatment time for all tuberculosis patients,” said Mr Diacon.

MDR-TB patients take five drugs for up to 18 months and patients with standard tuberculosis take four drugs for six months.

Mr Diacon said because this is a new drug with a new way of working, patients will not have developed a resistance, potentially increasing the proportion of people who could be cured.

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