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New TB drugs banish terrible ‘kitchen sink’ approach


New TB drugs banish terrible ‘kitchen sink’ approach

A new triple-drug regimen means the days of bombarding patients with medicines are over

Francesca Conradie

Tugela Ferry, a small town of 2,000 people in the middle of KwaZulu-Natal, had never been in the news before 2005, when researchers found 53 cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).

Half of the patients died in the six weeks it took to identify just how impervious these infections were to current medicines. Almost all the others died shortly after the results came back. Only one survived.

Tuberculosis is a contagious, airborne infection that is increasingly resistant to existing drugs. Someone with TB in their lungs can infect up to eight people every year if they are not treated...

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