Multiple drug resistant TB // Drug Repurposing

Multiple drug resistant TB

An infographic showing the cases of TB in the world in 2010.Germanyis interested in the situation in these countries, according to Barbara Hauer, an infections disease expert at the country's disease prevention and control authority Robert Koch Institute.

“We have to wait and see how the developments in other countries affect Germany in the long term, ” she says. “The rates are at a low-level, but we need to keep an eye on the number of cases.

Hauer estimates that Germany has around 50 cases a year.

Inadequate diagnosis

Normally, TB patients receive four to five antibiotics, which they have to take for six months. Resistance develops when patients don't take their medicine or the treatment ends earlier. Up to 17 tablets can be required to treat resistant TB, which can lead to deafness. And the costs can exceed normal TB treatment by more than a hundred times. If multi-resistant TB is not treated properly, there is a danger of extremely resistant strains.

That's why it's necessary to carefully monitor current and former patients, according to Andrei Dadu from WHO's European office.

But the actual number of known cases of resistant TB is "still at a very low level, " he says, adding that "if we don't find the number of infected people, others could get infected."

An operation in a TB clinic in Donezk, Ukraine

Dadu believes more money should be invested in diagnostic techniques in high-risk countries.

Last year, the WHO allocated more than $400 million (309 million euros) alone for countries in Europe at risk of TB. The money is to be used, among other things, for producing diagnosis equipment designed to identify strains within an hour through DNA analysis. By 2015, the WHO budget could rise to almost $2 billion. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has set aside a similar amount of money.

Despite the funding, less than a third of suspected cases of multi-drug resistant TB are found and only two-thirds of the discovered cases are treated adequately. Plenty of necessary infrastructure is also lacking, such as hospital beds and labs, in addition to diagnostic equipment.

Lack of understanding

There is often a lack of understanding for TB in society, such as a willingness to accept HIV-positive prisoners and drug addicts, according Daria Ocheret.

“Almost every person who died from TB in Russia over the past 10 years was HIV positive and addicted to drugs, ” she says.

There is a simple reason, she adds, why these people have not been diagnosed or treated – drugs are illegal and addicts fear being sent to prison or a long stay in the hospital without drugs or substitutes, as is the case in Russia.

“A lot of them leave, " Ocheret says. "Or they are thrown out after being caught with drugs. So they stop the treatment and increase the chances of developing and spreading multi-resistant TB.”

The solution, she believes, would be to link help for addicts to TB treatment. Those who receive anti-addiction drug methadone must also be given TB drugs regularly.

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by Hydrogyrophage

Drug resistant strains are dangerous because we can't treat them well with antibiotics. BUT, if we didn't use antibiotics, we wouldn't be able to treat them anyway, so you could just as well call *all* bacteria pre-penicillin multi-drug-resistant (or even XDR). The fact that it has resistance doesn't make it any more dangerous than a non-resistant bug if we don't use drugs.

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by eightball79

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a particularly vicious staph infection that plagues hospitals, may have gotten its obstinate resistance to antibiotics from the routine of giving antibiotics to farm animals, according to a new study by researchers at Northern Arizona University. MRSA has become a major epidemic that has become more drug-resistant as it has spread. While most people normally have a bit of Staphylococcus bacteria on their skin, certain MRSA strains are lethal and difficult to treat when they get into the bloodstream

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Govt must open its eyes to TB  — Citizen
Last year alone, there were more than 10 000 cases of multiple drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). There are fears that this figure might have risen to 15 000 this year.