The world has "an opportunity to act quickly and prevent" the spread of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, TB that is resistant to first-and second-line drugs, and stop it "from becoming a global health crisis," Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece.
Most importantly, TB control programs need to function effectively, and people with TB need access to proper drugs and should adhere to treatment regimens, according to Fauci. It also is "crucial to administer second-line TB drugs under very tightly controlled conditions so they retain their potency," Fauci writes.
In addition, rapid and easy-to-use diagnostic tests need to be developed to "ensure that patients are treated with effective drugs from the outset" and to prevent treatment failure and drug resistance, according to Fauci.
He also calls for the acceleration of TB drug development and says additional effective vaccines "are desperately needed." Scientists also need to "expand laboratory investigations to examine the coinfections seen together with TB in the real world" because TB often occurs among people who have other diseases, including HIV/AIDS, according to Fauci.
The world can "avert the threat" of XDR-TB if we "address it in a timely and appropriate manner," Fauci writes, concluding, "If we fail to act now, XDR-TB could develop into an enormous problem with fatal consequences throughout the world."
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation