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  First ever fruit-flavoured drug for tuberculosis introduced

First ever fruit-flavoured drug for tuberculosis introduced

TEENA THACKER
Published : Dec 2, 2015, 6:11 pm IST
Updated : Dec 2, 2015, 6:11 pm IST

The new strawberry-flavoured dissolvable medicines will be consumed by children without a fuss

Representational Image.
 Representational Image.

The new strawberry-flavoured dissolvable medicines will be consumed by children without a fuss

Cape Town, South Africa

 

: In a major breakthrough for over one million children suffering from tuberculosis (TB), the TB Alliance and its partners on Wednesday announced the first ever child-friendly medicines for TB.

The new strawberry-flavoured dissolvable medicines are expected to improve the treatment and child survival from TB. Earlier, these children were treated with medicines meant for adults. To make it suitable for children, the medicines had to be cut or crushed, making them less likely to take it and therefore making them more likely to die from this curable disease.

According to World Health Organisation, at least one million children fall ill with TB each year and 140,000 children die of TB. To date, children around the world have not yet had access to appropriate TB medicines.

 

“The availability of correctly dosed medications will improve treatment for children everywhere,” said Dr Mel Spigelman, President and CEO of TB Alliance, an international non-profit organisation, ahead of the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa.

Manufactured by a leading Indian Pharma company, the new TB medicines are fixed dose combinations (FDCs) of the three most commonly used drugs to treat drug-sensitive TB (rifampicin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide). These are not new drugs, but are improved formulations that are dissolvable and flavoured so that they are simple for providers and parents to administer and easy for children to take.

 

While the experts said that India has accepted the guidelines, a strong political will is required to get the new treatment in the system. Calling it a historical step, Mario C Raviglione, Director, Global TB programme of the WHO said that the new treatment is likely to save lives of 400 children every day.

The drug will cost cost about 15.5 US dollars for six months. "This low cost is unheard of for a new medicine," Spigelman said.

“No child should die of TB, yet for too long, we have not had the medicines or the functioning market needed to mount a sustainable response against childhood TB,” said Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of UNITAID. “UNITAID’s investment in addressing this problem will increase access to correctly dosed, quality-assured, affordable TB medicines for children that will help save lives.”

 

TB now ranks as the world’s leading infectious disease killer along with HIV.

Location: South Africa