New drugs for multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis that are expected to shorten the duration of treatment will be available in four to five years time, an expert has said.
“It will take at least four to five years for the drugs of MDR tuberculosis to hit the market. The drugs are expected to shorten the treatment period to two to three months from the current eight to ten months,” senior scientist at the Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai, Shaheed Jawahar said.
“Several companies have begun their research under the aegis of Global Alliance for new TB drug development and are at different stages of trials,” Jawahar said at the three-day International Conference on ‘Contemporary issues and future challenges in drug development,’ of South Asian Chapter of American College of Clinical Pharmacology (SSCACCP) which concluded yesterday.
Even the existing drugs which are undergoing trials to shorten the duration of treatment of MDR will also take another two to three years, he said.
“TB is a big public health problem and mostly poor people are affected by it. Therefore, no new drugs were developed in last 40 years. However, with the advent of HIV/AIDS, it is assuming great importance as it affects all sections of society and the new drug development is justified for multi-billion dollar business houses,” he said.
The revised TB control programme under DOT strategies for ordinary patients in the country has been successful as compared to the older one, he said.
The challenges remain for the MDR TB and “we hope to have all the drugs in place in the next few years,” he added.