Trial for new TB treatment

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2005

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A clinical trial for the first new treatment against active tuberculosis in decades is about to begin enrolling about 2,500 patients on four continents. The phase 2 trial will study the potential of an existing antibiotic, moxifloxacin, to shorten the standard six-month treatment of TB.

If the trial is successful, Bayer HealthCare AG, which holds the patent on the drug, has pledged to price moxifloxacin affordably for those who need it most in the world's poorest countries.

The trials will evaluate whether the substitution of moxifloxacin for one of the standard TB drugs eliminates TB infection faster than the current standard treatment.

Preclinical studies showed that moxifloxacin cut treatment time by two months when substituted for isoniazid, a cornerstone of TB treatment. Moxifloxacin is already approved in 104 countries to treat certain bacterial respiratory and skin infections.

Multidrug-resistant strains of tubercle bacillus are spreading at a rate of 300,000 newly diagnosed cases each year.

"New options are needed, and they need to be both effective and easier for patients to tolerate," said Richard Chaisson, MD, a professor of medicine, epidemiology and international health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Chaisson will lead two of the studies.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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