WHO recommends new diagnostic test, treatment for multidrug-resistant TB

To improve multidrug-resistant tuberculosis detection and outcomes, the World Health Organization is encouraging healthcare workers to use a new, faster diagnostic test and a shorter, cheaper treatment regimen.

The newly recommended diagnostic test — which uses DNA to identify genetic mutations in MDR-TB strains — produces results in 24 to 48 hours. Previous tests took three months or longer to yield results.

The novel treatment regimen can be completed in nine to 12 months, rather than 18 to 24 months, saving roughly $1,000 per patient. In addition to taking less time and costing less money, the test is expected to improve patient outcomes and decrease TB deaths.

"This is a critical step forward in tackling the MDR-TB public health crisis," said Mario Raviglione, MD, director of WHO's Global TB Program. "The new WHO recommendations offer hope to hundreds of thousands of MDR-TB patients who can now benefit from a test that quickly identifies eligibility for the shorter regimen, and then complete treatment in half the time and at nearly half the cost."

The organization's recommendations are based on studies involving roughly 1,200 patients across 10 countries with uncomplicated MDR-TB.



More articles on TB:
Researchers turn to cholesterol to stop the growth of TB infections
20-year decline in TB incidence in US has stalled: 5 things to know
Test identifies blood markers in TB carriers to predict who will — and won't — develop infections

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