The current treatment for drug-susceptible tuberculosis (TB) used in South Africa last for six months, effectively cures TB and is dirt cheap. Two studies in recent years have shown that TB can be cured in four or in some cases even two months, but price and other complications make these treatments tricky to implement. At a conference in Seattle last week, a major trial of an alternative four-month treatment reported disappointing findings. Elri Voigt unpacks the latest findings and asks what the prospects now are for shortening TB treatment.
Tuberculosis (TB) can be resistant to treatment with several different drugs. Tests that identify which drugs someone’s TB is resistant to are critical to ensuring that people are not treated with drugs that don’t work for them, especially given the significant side effects associated with some of the drugs. Elri Voigt assesses the state of play in testing for TB drug resistance and the promise of exciting new technologies, such as whole genome sequencing.
According to some estimates, over a third of tuberculosis (TB) patients have high levels of psychological distress and a quarter have an alcohol use disorder. Following an eye-opening project in KwaZulu-Natal, Atlantic Institute Tekano Fellow Amanda Fononda argues that a diagnosis of an illness (such as TB) should be accompanied by mental health screening for treatment readiness, adherence, and overall well-being.
In 2015, the World Health Organization recommended a urine test that helps with the detection of tuberculosis (TB) in people living with HIV who are hospitalised or who have compromised immune systems. While uptake of this test in South Africa was initially quite slow, numbers presented at the recent South African TB Conference suggest that the use of the test is now increasing. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Wieda Human, Ingrid Schoeman, Ruvandhi Nathavitharana, Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen, and Ananja van der Westhuizen from TB Proof argue that we need to look upstream for solutions to improve indoor air quality.