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World TB Day: JP Nadda Launches New Resistent TB Drug Bedaquiline

Union Health Minister JP Nadda launched Bedaquiline, a new anti-TB drug for Drug Resistant TB. The drug is a new anti-TB drug for treatment of resistent tuberculosis. The new class of drug is a diarylquinoline that specifically targets Mycobacterial ATP synthase, an enzyme essential for supply of energy to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most other mycobacteria.

J P Nadda launched it on the eve of ‘World TB Day’ in New Delhi on Tuesday and said the process of fighting TB is continuous with no dilution and no diversion. "Our attention needs to be steadfast and aggressive," stated the Health Minister.

Bedaquiline is a new anti-TB drug for treatment of MDR-TB and it is a new class of drug called diarylquinoline that specifically targets Mycobacterial ATP synthase, an enzyme essential for supply of energy to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most other mycobacteria. Bedaquiline is being introduced at six identified tertiary care centres across India.

Bedaquiline will be given to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB.

Nadda also inducted over 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance simultaneously. This test is fully automated and provides results within two hours. It is a highly sensitive diagnostic tool and can be used in remote and rural areas without sophisticated infrastructure or specialized training. Until 2015, 121 CBNAAT sites are functional in the country largely providing decentralized testing for detection of DR TB.

With the availability of these additional 500 machines, access to rapid quality assured diagnosis of DR TB and TB will be ensured in all the districts of India either directly or through a linkage by specimen transport mechanism. Additionally, the programme will be able to use this highly sensitive, state-of-art technology for diagnosis of TB among key populations like children, PLHIV and extra pulmonary TB patients.

The Health Minister also released the TB India 2016 Annual Report and the Technical and Operational Guidelines for TB Control in India 2016. The comprehensive set of guidelines are for management of all forms of TB, including drug resistant TB and strategies for intensified case finding; adherence of more patient centric approaches and single-window care for patients suffering from HIV and TB.

A handbook for ‘Healthcare Worker Surveillance for TB in India’ and Guidelines for Prevention and Management of Adverse Reactions associated with anti-TB drugs were the other e-books launched at the event. A new radio campaign with TB ambassador Amitabh Bachchan and social media campaign, was also launched at the event.

The Minister also launched the ‘Third line ART programme for people living with HIV’. The life-saving third line ART costs nearly Rs. 1.18 lakh per patient, per year. Providing these free would not only save lives but improve socio-economic conditions of the patients. This initiative brings India’s ART programme at par with programmes in the developed countries.

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