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New medicine to treat drug resistant TB

Ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, the government on Monday launched Bedaquiline, a new class of anti-tuberculosis medicine to specifically treat drug resistant TB in India.

Health Minister JP Nadda on Monday launched the drug, which has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the treatment of pulmonary multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), in combination with an optimised background regimen.

In the first phase, the drug will be available in six public hospitals across the country to 600 patients. The treatment with this drug will be under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme and is part of co-ordinated programme between the government and Johnson & Johnson.

“The new anti-TB drug is indicated for use in the treatment of drug-resistant TB. Bedaquiline is being introduced at six identified tertiary care centres across India. These sites have advanced facilities for laboratory testing and intensive care for patients. Bedaquiline will be given to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB,” said a Health Ministry official.

An estimated 2.2 million people were found to be suffering from TB in India in 2014, with over 70,000 MDR-TB patients. India accounts for 23 per cent of the total global TB cases. 
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