Johannesburg, March 25, 2017(TNE): South Africa has launched a new drug programme to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in a bid to combat the leading cause of natural deaths in Africa’s most industrialised economy.
The Health Department stated it would run a clinical research programme for the drug Delamanid, made by Japan’s Otsuka Holdings Co Ltd, involving 400 patients over the next two years.
”Resistance is very minimal to it. The added advantage of this drug is it is more tolerable,” Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told a briefing for World TB Day in Johannesburg on Friday.
TB is a bacterial infection which kills more people each year in South Africa than any other infectious disease. It accounted for 7.2 per cent of natural deaths in 2015, more than diabetes or HIV and AIDS.
Delamanid has already been used in the European Union, Japan and South Korea.
TB is normally treated with a combination of antibiotics.
The extensive overuse of antibiotics worldwide has led to a rise in drug-resistant strains.
A report on Wednesday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, a scientific journal, said this threatened to derail the progress made in controlling TB worldwide.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation estimated that 1.8 million people died globally due to TB, with South Africa among the top six countries that together account for 60 per cent of deaths.
According to WHO, an estimated 480,000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB in 2015.(TNE)