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Advances in TB Drug Discovery and Diagnosis: A Ray of Hope for a TB Free World

Healthcare | Dec, 2023

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease which has plagued humanity for centuries, claiming millions of lives every year. As per the WHO, an estimated 5.8 million people developed active TB and 1.5 million died with the disease including 0.214 million deaths associated with HIV co-infection in 2020.

Globally, it is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in developing countries, including India. TB is caused by bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which primarily affects the lungs but also has the tendency to attack other parts of the body. While TB is curable, the effectiveness of treatments has been hampered by the development of deadly antibiotic-resistant strains. This has led to a growing need for effective drug treatment and diagnosis. Despite the significant progress made in TB diagnosis and treatment, the disease still remains to be a major public health concern, especially in low-income countries. However, the recent advances in TB drug discovery and diagnosis have provided a beacon of hope for a TB free world.

The treatment of TB involves a multidrug, multimodal long duration therapy, which comprises of first and second-line drugs. The complex and lengthy treatment regimen leads to poor patient compliance resulting in the emergence of drug resistant bacteria causing extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) that has outpaced the available treatment options. The transmission of MDR and XDR strains is most acute in region with poor social and economic backgrounds, and where it is very difficult to combat and control TB and are the highest and are intensified by the high rates of HIV coinfection.

 In 2020, about 0.157 million people got infected with drug resistant Mtb strains globally.