WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, DVORTYGIRL
The TB Alliance is continuing its charge to develop a new drug regimen for people with tuberculosis, jumping regulatory hurdles to test several new combinations of drugs. Yesterday, the non-profit organization announced that they would begin a second clinical trial to test a new drug combination that can be taken for less time and, hopefully, work more effectively against the disease.
Currently, tuberculosis patients are prescribed a handful of antibiotics to be taken every day for 6 months. And if they develop a multi-drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, they will receive daily injections for 6 months, followed by 18 months of pill-popping.
In September 2010, the TB Alliance launched the first new phase II trial for new tuberculosis medicines in 50 years, testing a three-drug regimen: the experimental drug PA-824 with antibiotics moxifloxacin, and pyrazinamide. The first trial, completed in September 2011, only measured the drug’s safety and efficacy for 2 weeks.
The new trial will test the same drugs, but instead will last for 2 months, enroll around 250 people, and take place at 8 sites around Africa and South America.
The TB Alliance hopes that, with this drug combination, treatment time will be cut to 4 months, patients will take fewer pills, and costs will be lower.