‘Patna girl on bedaquiline doing well’

Published - March 17, 2017 12:59 am IST

Mumbai: The 18-year-old girl from Patna, who won a court battle to get access to the highly controlled anti-TB drug bedaquiline, is recovering well. Chest physician Dr. Zarir Udwadia from Hinduja Hospital, who is treating her, said she has a long way to go for recovery, but is responding well to treatment.

The Patna teenager is also one of the three patients in the hospital who have been put on another highly controlled and fairly new anti-TB drug called delamanid. “We are giving her a combination of bedaquiline and delamanid, along with a few other drugs,” said Dr. Udwadia, adding that another girl from Mumbai succumbed to the disease last month after getting delayed access to delamanid. The patient was 17 when the request for delamanid was made, but it was denied. She got access to the drug after she turned 18 last year, but she succumbed to the disease.

Doctors say that the government needs to speed up the process of rolling out new anti-TB drugs. Bedaquiline, developed after a gap of over 40 years by a Belgian firm, was to be rolled out for 600 patients in six trial sites across India. But so far, merely 190-odd patients are on trial.

In 2012, Dr. Udwadia and his team had published a paper showing 12 TB patients resistant to all the available line of drugs. His findings put the spotlight on the challenges of tackling drug-resistant TB.

Experts say the average time between the first cough to the first correct TB medication prescription is six months and the threat of primary TB infection, wherein a person directly gets the drug-resistant strain from a patient, is extremely worrisome.

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