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The World Health Organization has approved a newer, alternative therapy to costlier drugs to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Previous therapeutic options were just 50% effective in MDR-TB patients, who constitute to 5% TB patient population.
MDR-TB is a complex form of simple tuberculosis, and extremely difficult to treat with conventional anti-tubercular drugs due to added drug resistance. In such case, the patient needs to undergo treatment for at least 18-24 months despite the risk of unacceptable adverse events including ototoxicity.
The newer approach includes a cocktail of already approved drugs including an anti-leprotic drug that has been repurposed for anti-tubercular therapy. The treatment is comparatively cheaper that could cost just $400/patient, compared to 9 folds higher for the old regimen.
As of now, no desirable level of research and resources have been invested in anti-tubercular research by the Western countries, as prevalence of tuberculosis is generally confined to so-called third world countries.