TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – U.S. regulators have approved a new tuberculosis medicine that shortens and improves treatment for the hardest-to-treat cases, a worsening problem in many poor countries.
It’s the first TB drug developed by a nonprofit group, the TB Alliance, which was formed to come up with better treatments.
The Food and Drug Administration approved pretomanid (preh-TOH’-meh-nihd) for use with two other drugs for TB, which attacks the lungs. In testing, the three-pill combo cured about 90% of patients with very drug-resistant TB, usually within 6 months. It also appears to stop patients spreading the deadly bacterial infection after just a few days’ treatment.
Until now, the best option cured about two-thirds of patients and took 18 to 30 months, according to the TB Alliance.