Latest advancements in TB science in spotlight

31 May 2022 00:43:44
Bobby Ramakant – CNS
Contd from previous issue
This current standard DOTS therapy (6 months long regimen) for TB treatment is a lifesaving therapy for those who do not have drug-resistance and get cured, but we cannot forget that this is not the gold standard by any means - this therapy remains burdensome to patients and their care providers, and toxic for many. We need better, more effective, less toxic, shorter treatment for drug-sensitive TB too," said Shobha Shukla.
She added: "For MDR-TB and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) treatments, governments need to implement scientifically proven, shorter, and patient-centric treatment options with reduced number of drugs and minimal side effects." "Why is there an unacceptably-long delay in rolling out best of science outcomes to those people who are most in need?" asks firebrand feminist and health rights activist Shobha Shukla.
Shobha said that testing and treating active TB disease is not enough if we want to end TB worldwide, unless we diagnose those with latent TB infection (especially those who are at greater risk) and provide them TB preventive treatments so that their risk of getting active TB disease is as low as possible. Not only we have not addressed latent TB infection adequately - historically - but we have even rolled existing programmes unsatisfactorily. For example, in India use of Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) to reduce risk of active TB disease in children and people living with HIV with latent TB was offered even before rollout of lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) began in 2004. But the ground reality of IPT rollout after almost two decades, is simply unacceptable.
Bobby Ramakant is a WHO Director General’s WNTD Awardee 2008 and serves on the CNS (Citizen News Service) editorial.
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