Friday, December 4th, 2015

Combat TB with Sweet Drugs

Narada Desk | December 4, 2015 2:45 am Print

TuberculosisThe World Health Organization has launched a new initiative to tackle the TB menace in children, with the introduction of strawberry and raspberry flavored tablets. Children are the key targets this time, for their death accounted for about 1400000 in 2014. Also there has been a lack of market incentives which has adversely affected the development of TB drugs for them. Children also do not favor taking bitter medicines, and thereby often breaking the prescribed course. This can prove detrimental  in the long term, with a break in course leading to drug resistance.

TB is caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis, and spread to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes without adequate protective cover.  In 2014, about 10 million people were infected with TB  and 1.5 million died. It is often concentrated among the poorest and in the backward regions with lack of adequate medical supply or continuous monitoring.

Multi Drug Resistant TB strains are adding to the problem, with treatment for these becoming difficult. The MDR strain are highly resistant to new courses off drugs, which are often administered after a break in the initial phase. It is also seen that, the disease often co exists with HIV AIDS and thereby making the treatment process complex. South Africa has the maximum number of people affected by TB.

There is also a dearth in the promotion of R&D in developing highly effective but cheap drugs for the world population. This is because the multinational pharma corporations do not find it profitable to invest much of their resources into low return business. However the picture is not all  that dismal with many a charity wings of billionaires and governments across the world, deploying new and affordable techniques to fight TB. The new child-friendly drugs are largely funded by UNITAID this time.