In DepthInfectious Disease

Easier cure for resistant TB

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Science  17 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 677
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6326.677

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A new treatment strategy has had astonishing success against extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB), which kills more than 70% of patients. XDR and other drug-resistant forms of TB are burgeoning among people with HIV, and current treatments are so prolonged and toxic that many patients fail to adhere to them. But a small study now shows that a simpler, safer regimen can cure the disease. Called Nix-TB, the trial has had 34 people in South Africa with XDR on three antibiotics that have never been combined before to treat TB. After 6 months, the TB bacillus could not be cultured from anyone's sputum, a sign that they had cleared the infection. More impressive, 20 people stopped taking the drugs at that point and just one relapsed.