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New antibiotic drug combo to speed up treatment of tuberculosis
Date:9/18/2007

A team of tuberculosis (TB) experts at Johns Hopkins and in Brazil have evidence that substituting the antibiotic moxifloxacin in the regimen of drugs used to treat the highly contagious form of lung disease could dramatically shorten the time needed to cure the illness from six months to four.

Adding moxifloxacin to a standard combination of other antibiotics increased by 17 percent the number of patients who cleared active infections from their lungs (raising cure rates from 68 percent to 85 percent), after just two months of therapy, and when compared to patients taking the standard combination with another, older antibiotic, ethambutol.

This is the most compelling evidence in nearly 25 years that a novel antibiotic drug combination works better than the current gold standard at curing active TB infection, says study senior author Richard E. Chaisson, M.D., a professor of medicine, epidemiology and international health at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and founding director of its Center for Tuberculosis Research. Chaisson will present his teams findings Sept. 18 in Chicago at the 47th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

Beyond the obvious value of healing patients more quickly, a shorter treatment time could also cut down on transmission of the disease to others and make it easier for health care workers worldwide, who are overwhelmed by large numbers of patients, to treat more people and to treat them faster, says Chaisson, who started the study in 2003.

He notes that worldwide, each year, nearly 9 million new cases of TB are diagnosed, and more than one and a half million people die from the disease, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

TB also remains the leading cause of death worldwide among those with HIV and AIDS and is epidemic in developing countries with the highest HIV-infection rates.

The new study of more than 170 men and wo
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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