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Seeing pill-swallowing no TB cure

Latest review of directly observed therapy paints the healthcare policy as ineffective, stirs existing controversy

Ishani Ganguli
Directly observed therapy (DOT) -- a controversial technique in which health care workers or community volunteers watch patients swallow tablets -- does not have a significant impact on tuberculosis patients, according to a new report from The Cochrane Library. Still, DOT remains a central tenet of international recommendations for curbing the spread of treatment-resistant bacteria, and experts say they are unconvinced that clinicians should abandon the technique.However, ?at the end of the day, it?s difficult to argue that DOT would be dramatically better than self-treatment,? Paul Garner, an author of the review and head of the International Health Research Group at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told The Scientist. ?It?s not a magical kind of approach that is central to ensuring adherence.? Faced with a treatment regimen of at least six months, tuberculosis patients are particularly at risk of non-adherence, contributing to the spread of treatment-resistant...

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