New drug for TB in five years: Scientist

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Hyderabad, Jan 28 (UNI) Global Health Institute, Switzerland, Director Professor Stewart Cole today said a new drug to treat Tuberculosis (TB) would be developed in five years, which could reduce the treatment period from the present six months to two months.

Speaking to newspersons here after delivering the 11th Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics foundation day lecture on 'A World Without Tuberculosis' here, he said the institute had taken up New Medicine 4 TB (NM4TB) project, funded by the European Commission. Five drugs have been prepared, which were under phase II and III clinical trials.

At least one drug would complete clinical trials in five years.

The new drug would have less side effects compared to old drugs and it would cure the disease in a short span of time, he said, adding that the clinical trials on mice had yielded positive results.

Observing that the BCG vaccine was not successful to prevent TB because its efficacy varied according to nutritional status, genetic differences, strain differences and exposure rate, Prof Cole said it was difficult to improve the BCG vaccine. The vaccine would not help to prevent TB permanently.

Stating that the new drug should be compatible with AIDS drugs as 50 per cent of the AIDS victims were suffering from TB, he said high potency to reduce treatment duration, activity against persistent Bacilli, identifying new drug target classes, specifying Micobacterium Tuberculosis and compatibility with DOTS were being considered as essential factors in the development of the new drug.

UNI AP GD GL RN2147

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