About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Resistant Tuberculosis Carries Global Threat: WHO

by VR Sreeraman on November 9, 2007 at 6:17 PM
Font : A-A+

Resistant Tuberculosis Carries Global Threat: WHO

Growing resistance to available tuberculosis (TB) drugs is threatening the world with a new untreatable strain of the deadly disease, experts said at a global lung health conference on Thursday.

"The danger is real," Mario Raviglione, director of the World Health Organisation's Stop tuberculosis (TB) department, told AFP on the sidelines of the gathering of some 3,000 health experts from 100 countries in Cape Town.


"Scenarios of an apocalyptic nature are not likely ... but not impossible." Raviglione said two or three cases were recently reported in Italy of TB resistant to all available drugs. All were fatal.

"There are situations that push us back to the pre-antibiotic era of 1943 ... when there was nothing against tuberculosis except bed rest, and in Europe and North America sanatoria and good nutrition and things like that."

Some two billion people worldwide are infected with TB, about 450,000 of them with a drug resistant strain. About 1.6 million die each year, one every twenty seconds.

A total of 41 countries have reported at least one case of extreme-drug resistant (XDR) TB. This figure may be higher, as many African countries lack laboratories capable of detecting this hard-to-treat strain, said Raviglione.

TB drug resistance develops when patients fail to complete their treatment, and can also be directly transmitted from person to person.

Patients with (multi-drug resistant) MDR TB fail to react to the two most powerful and commonly used drugs, while those with XDR TB also showed resistance to at least one of three injectable higher level drugs.

Raviglione said there was a less than five percent chance of a completely drug resistant strain becoming dominant.

"However, if you start inputting into the mathematical model a cure rate as low as it is in many countries of Africa today and the XDR epidemic not being addressed with a higher cure rate ... obviously that five percent becomes much more easily reachable."

It was difficult to predict whether new drugs would be developed in time to prevent large-scale resistance, he added.

"You really have to think about a new regimen. We must have at least another three or four classes of antibiotics to be safe on this.

"I don't foresee that anything like that will be available before 2015," Raviglione said, adding XDR TB would in the meantime continue spreading in places like the former Soviet Union and in Africa, hand-in-hand with AIDS.

TB was the leading cause of death among an estimated 40 million people infected with the HI Virus worldwide, with about 12 million suffering from both.

Raviglione said the TB epidemic appeared to be peaking worldwide at around 8.8 million new active cases per year. But despite the apparent levelling-off of the death rate, Raviglione said there was there was no sign on the horizon of the disease being eliminated.

The development of new vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tools was the only solution, delegates concurred.

The conference heard that seven new candidate drugs were entering clinical trials, while a vaccine was being developed in hopes of hitting the market in about 10 years' time.

The only existing vaccine, BCG, was developed in the 1920's and saved the lives of an estimated 70,000 children out of 100 million vaccinated every year.

The new vaccine, said Jerald Sadoff, president of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation, should be at least 70 percent more effective.

Giorgio Roscigno, chief executive of the non-profit Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, said much more money was needed to stave off disaster.

"We really need more investment, particularly from governments, to match at least the philanthropic commitment," he told journalists.

Source: AFP

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Tuberculosis Tracheostomy Pleural Effusion Silicosis Screening Tests for Tuberculosis Fever Cough Symptom Evaluation Diet in Tuberculosis Stomach Tuberculosis Extra Pulmonary Tuberculosis 

Recommended Reading
Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, primarily affects the lung. It may spread to ......
Genome of Drug Resistant Strain of Tuberculosis Sequenced
South African scientists announced a major breakthrough on Thursday in the fight against a highly .....
Cough Symptom Evaluation
Cough is a symptom of a condition usually affecting the respiratory tract. It may be acute or chroni...
Diet in Tuberculosis
Patients with tuberculosis should eat a healthy diet so that they build up their immunity to fight a...
Extra Pulmonary Tuberculosis
Extra pulmonary tuberculosis is infection of tissues and organs other than the lungs by mycobacteriu...
Fever or Pyrexia is an elevation in normal body temperature. Causes of fever include infections, inj...
Pleural Effusion
Pleural effusion is the accumulation of fluid in the space between the two coverings (pleura) of the...
Screening Tests for Tuberculosis
Tuberculin skin test and Interferon – Release Assays are tests used to screen for tuberculosis....
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline free silica dust. It is characterise...
Stomach Tuberculosis
Abdominal tuberculosis, which is a form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis, affects the gastrointestinal...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use