ISLAMABAD: Cure rates for hard-to-treat infections have increased as a new treatment for drug-resistant TB is now available to patients in Pakistan, resulting in updating the treatment guidelines.

The Association for Social Development (ASD) has registered 206 participants with drug-resistant (DR-TB) in Pakistan through a pilot programme for treatment with new regimens recently recommended by the World Health Organisation, known as ‘BPaL/M’ — combinations of bedaquiline, pretomanid, and linezolid, with or without moxifloxacin.

The US-based TB Alliance announced from its Pretoria-based office on Thursday that as an outcome of these positive results, Pakistan has updated its treatment guidelines for DR-TB.

WHO considers Pakistan to be a high burden country for multidrug-resistant TB, with one of the highest caseloads and incidence rates in the world.

“We are excited to see positive results from Pakistan’s operational research programme that will help advance national access to the BPaL/M regimens for drug-resistant TB treatment,” said Market Access at TB Alliance Senior Vice President Sandeep Juneja.

“People with DR-TB should no longer be left to take lengthy and difficult treatments, often lasting 18 months or longer with no real guarantee of being cured.”

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2023

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