TB VACCINATION

The only TB vaccine currently available, the BCG, was developed over 90 years ago. While the BCG vaccine is still widely used around the world, it only protects children from the most severe forms of TB, such as TB meningitis and miliary TB, and does not offer protection against the most common form of TB – pulmonary TB (TB in the lungs). In addition, the BCG vaccine cannot be given to children who are HIV-positive because of their weakened immune systems.

TB can only be eliminated as a public health threat if we have an effective vaccine. Such a vaccine will be particularly important in the fight against drug-resistant TB, which is becoming an increasing challenge for all European countries. New vaccines are needed to prevent all forms of TB that are also safe for people with HIV.

 

TB DIAGNOSIS

We currently lack a TB diagnostic tool that is simple and effective:

Skin Test: The tuberculin skin test will only indicate if someone has developed TB antibodies in response to the presence of TB bacteria, but it won’t indicate whether the someone has active TB infection.

Chest xray: Chest x-rays are difficult to interpret and diagnostic outcomes vary depending on the evaluator.

Microscopy: Most of the world still diagnoses TB by looking at a sputum sample under a microscope. However, microscopic examination detects only about half of all TB cases and does not detect drug resistance. Furthermore, microscopic examination isn’t very effective in people with HIV whose sputum often does not contain enough bacteria to detect under a microscope. This is also a problem in children who have difficulty even producing enough sputum for a sample.

Bacterial Culture: The current gold standard for TB diagnosis, growing a bacteria culture, can take weeks for results, meaning patients return to their communities and potentially infect others before receiving a diagnosis. In addition, testing for drug resistance can take months, meaning patients with drug resistant TB are likely to spread it before being accurately diagnosed.

GeneXpert: A revolutionary new TB test using the GeneXpert machine can diagnose TB much more accurately than microscopy, can diagnose TB in individuals who are HIV-positive and can also detect drug resistance. However, the machine costs USD $17,000 to buy in developing countries and requires electricity, annual maintenance and a trained technician to operate.

Correct diagnosis is essential to reducing TB transmission and improving treatment outcomes. We need more sensitive, simpler and cost-effective diagnostic tools to be developed. Research is desperately needed for a point-of-care test that doesn’t require a trained technician to administer, can be carried to rural areas, provides a result straight away and can detect drug resistance.

 

TB TREATMENT

12771041675_e9bf3835e1_kNo new TB drugs have been developed in over 40 years. Current treatment of TB takes six to nine months which, when combined with the serious side effects the drugs cause, increases the likelihood that patients will discontinue treatment and develop drug resistance.

Treatment of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) can take up to two years and the cost is 100 times that of treating a normal case of TB. Cases of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) are virtually impossible to cure.

The side effects of treating MDR-TB are particularly serious. These include vomiting, diarrhoea,  headaches, dizziness, irritability, anxiety, depression, sensitivity to light and suicidal ideation, just to name a few. Patients can also often be required to take up to 17 tablets a day, which hard enough for adults to take every day let alone children.

These include an antibiotic of macrolide type. There are a lot of names but you should pay attention to Zitromax(Azithromycin). Formula it effective enough to fight many bacterial and viral diseases. The only caveat remains Zithromax dosage. If the dosage is inflated the patient will experience the side effects, otherwise, the dose of the active ingredient(Azithromycin) will not be enough to fight the infection.

The majority of patients regularly experience at least one of these side effects, highlighting how hard it is for patients going through TB to complete their treatment. Not only do they suffering from the effects of TB, they also have to contend with a host of other, often debilitating, side effects. When combining this with the fact that there is minimal help for patients while taking their medication it is understandable why many are unable to complete treatment. We need new drugs that result in shorter, safer and more effective treatment of all forms of TB.