April 16, 2009

Drug-Resistant TB On The Rise In China, Former Soviet Union

Countries in the former Soviet Union and many regions of China are facing an epidemic of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, according to a new report based on data from 90,000 patients in 83 countries.

The analysis took place over the period of 2002-2007 and concluded that one-in-nine of the estimated nine million yearly reported cases of tuberculosis were resistant to at least one drug.

Scientists define multi-drug resistant tuberculosis as not responding to at least two anti-TB medications.

"Countries of the former Soviet Union, followed by some provinces of China, reported the highest prevalence of resistance," the researchers said.

The MDR-TB infection rate reached between seven and 22 percent in nine countries from the former Soviet Union. The rate was 19 percent in Moldova and 22 percent in Baku, Azerbaijan.

"The countries of the former Soviet Union are facing a serious and widespread epidemic with the highest prevalence of MDR-TB ever reported in 13 years of global data collection," they noted.

The rate of MDR-TB in rich nations such as France, Britain and the Netherlands, was found to be one percent lower.

According to AFP, the study also found that virulent strain infection rates had increased in many countries since the mid-1990s, when the Global Project on Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance was launched.

Rate of MDR-TB infection in the Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia remained at 11.3 percent over the last decade, while the rate more than doubled in six years in the Tomsk Oblast region of Russia and nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2006 to 8.8 percent in Orel Oblast, Russia.

"Currently, the world is far behind reaching targets for MDR-TB diagnosis and management," the study concluded.

On Thursday, Ekomed LLC announced results of a new study that showed "complete cure of all Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB) patients who received its phyto-immunotherapy products."

"As opposed to 18-24 months of treatment with standard TB drugs, the immune intervention has shown to be 100 percent effective and reduced treatment duration to under four months."

"As long as TB is treated with a long, complex, decades-old antibiotics' regimen, XDR-TB will continue to remain a life-threatening disease with unmet needs," said Volodymyr Pylypchuk, Director at Ekomed.

"The immune intervention, we have developed, drastically shortens treatment duration and can save countless lives right now. Our study conducted in Ukraine shows that we can offer a practical, cost-effective solution to the global TB crisis."


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