Daily Archives: November 12, 2010

The urgent need for new TB diagnostics

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The Global Center’s David Bryden is reporting from the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health, this week in Berlin.

The recent article in The New Yorker by Michael Specter, “Letter from India: A Deadly Misdiagnosis,” is required reading for anyone interested in global health, drug resistance and expanding access to affordable tuberculosis services. The problems it reveals, including the irresponsible use of serological testing for TB in India, have been much discussed here in Berlin at the Union World Conference on Lung Health.

TB kills about 900 people per day in India, or about two people every three minutes. And each year there are 99,000 cases of multi-drug resistant TB. Nearly five percent of the incident cases there are HIV-positive.

Potential Shorter, Simpler TB Treatment Heads to Phase II Trials

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The TB Alliance announced this week enrollment of a Phase II trial, NC001 (or New Combination 1), testing the new TB drug candidates PA-824 and moxifloxacin in combination with pyrazinamide, an existing antibiotic commonly used in TB treatment today. The 14-day, inpatient study will be conducted with 68 patients in two clinical sites in South Africa. The drugs were separately tested for safety and efficacy in patients alone before entering the combination trial.

Science Speaks asked Carl Mendel, MD, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), some questions about the trial:

In TB, breakthroughs possible for new tests

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After speaking about new tools to diagnose TB and other diseases, Dr. Giorgio Roscigno walked off the stage at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene last week in Atlanta only to face a long line of people waiting to talk with him. He stayed until organizers of the next session finally had to shoo him out of the room.

These are heady times for Roscigno. His Geneva-based group, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), has helped shepherd a series of new discoveries, including one pending TB test that several experts believe could revolutionize the treatment and care of the ancient disease.