MSF has recently published its research in The Lancet Infectious Diseases that provides the most programmatic evidence to date that a combination of two new drugs for tuberculosis (TB) – the world’s leading infectious disease killer – could be used to save the lives of patients with highly drug-resistant forms of the disease.
Early data from 23 patients with extensively drug-resistant TB treated with a combination of bedaquiline and delamanid in MSF-supported projects in Armenia, India, and South Africa offers promising evidence that the treatment may be safe and effective. Of the 23 patients, 17 (74%) tested negative for TB after six months of treatment, an early indicator that the treatment will ultimately be successful. No significant side effects were observed, given concerns about the effect both drugs could have on heart rhythm.
Little evidence or specific guidance exists for using both drugs in combination for patients with complex resistance patterns, which has resulted in limited use. Results from clinical trials on the drug combination remain years away. This peer-reviewed MSF study helps contribute to building evidence and informs much-needed guidance for national health departments and clinicians in using the combination.
Although bedaquiline and delamanid have been registered for use for five and nearly four years, respectively, MSF estimates that globally in 2016 less than 5% of people who could benefit from these drugs had access to them. Our publication Out of Step report (https://www.msfaccess.org/outofstep2017) has highlighted that countries with the highest burden of TB fall far short when it comes to scaling up the best practices and tools recommended by the World Health Organization to finally start beating back tuberculosis.
Link to full MSF study via Lancet Infectious Diseases: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(18)30100-2/fulltext
è The full PDF study will be available free for download shortly
è The link also includes a podcast with MSF’s Medical Coordinator in South Africa Dr Amir Shroufi explaining MSF’s rationale behind the study
Also, see a short article based on the lancet publication.
Feel free to contact, in case you need more information.
Press & Communications Officer
MSF Access Campaign
Médecins Sans Frontières
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