A 32-page guide developed by the US-based independent AIDS research and policy think tank, the [b]Treatment Action Group[/b] (TAG), outlines tuberculosis (TB) drugs currently in use internationally, many of which have been approved for other diseases but are used off-label for TB. And, says a [s]Health-e[/s] report, TAG argues that TB treatment must be shorter, simpler, less toxic and more tolerable and affordable. The think tank has published the guide in the hopes that activists can contribute to the development and uptake of improved TB treatment by calling attention to research, quality of medications, and access priorities. It highlights enrolling paediatric trials for the TB drug delamanid in [b]South Africa[/b] as well as the country’s use of terizidone as a last report drug for drug-resistant TB.
The [b]Department of Health’s[/b] multi-million rand investment in an automated, rapid TB test is, meanwhile, being short-changed by slow health systems. Health-e reports that despite the widespread rollout of the [b]GeneXpert[/b], a molecular diagnostic test that detects TB and drug-resistant TB within 90 minutes, benefits have not fully trickled down to patients. [b]Desmond Tutu TB Centre[/b] researcher Dr Pren Naidoo said that on average, MDR-TB patients took 16 days to be started on their treatment following the receipt of their same-day GeneXpert results and this puts others at risk of contracting MDR-TB. Since the roll out, the average time between testing and treatment initiation for regular TB patients has dropped from six to four days. Meanwhile, preliminary data show laboratory costs have more than doubled with the GeneXpert’s introduction. In some parts of the country these costs may be offset by increased TB diagnosis but Naidoo says not so in Cape Town, where this additional expenditure is drawing limited public health resources away from other health priorities.
[link url=http://www.health-e.org.za/2014/06/05/report-activists-guide-tuberculosis-drugs]Full Health-e report[/link]
[link url=http://www.health-e.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/An-Activists-Guide-to-Tuberculosis-Drugs-V9.pdf]TAG Guide[/link]
[link url=http://www.health-e.org.za/2014/06/09/benefits-pricey-new-tb-test-still-reaching-patients]Full Health-e report[/link]