"More than one-quarter of people diagnosed with tuberculosis [TB] at a clinic in India's largest city of 18 million have a strain that doesn't respond to the main treatment against the disease, according to preliminary data from a new diagnostic being tested," the Wall Street Journal reports. The newspaper obtained "preliminary and not peer reviewed" data from TB clinics in Mumbai, and Puneet Dewan with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation TB program in India "said the WHO and Indian authorities are taking the data seriously because it appears to confirm other studies in recent years of similarly high rates of multi-drug-resistance, in which patients don't respond to the two most powerful TB medicines." According to the newspaper, "The WHO and India currently estimate India has about 100,000 of the 650,000 people in the world with multi-drug-resistance" (Anand/McKay, 11/23).
In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal reports, "The WHO and a growing chorus of global health experts are now calling for a significant overhaul in the way nations with widespread drug-resistant TB combat the disease. It amounts to a de facto acknowledgment that the WHO's TB strategy, and the countries that use it, failed to adapt quickly enough as the disease formed more powerful, resistant strains." According to the newspaper, "The WHO is in the midst of a 'complete rethinking' of its strategy toward drug resistance that involves helping countries move more quickly to address their epidemics, said Mario Raviglione, the WHO's top tuberculosis official. Countries with the largest epidemics, such as India, China, South Africa and Russia, haven't moved rapidly enough against drug resistance, he said" (Anand/McKay, 11/23).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.