Tuberculosis is one of the world's most devastating global health crises. The pandemic infects 8.6 million and kills 1.3 million each year, while robbing millions more of health, hope, and prosperity. Women, children, and those living in poverty are the worst hit. TB is the second leading infectious disease killer behind HIV, and the leading killer of people with HIV.
The current TB therapy is highly inadequate and is growing increasingly resistant to available therapies. Today, drug-resistant TB, such as MDR-TB and XDR-TB, is an unchecked public health threat. Part of the problem comes from the inadequacy of the current TB treatments. Today's drug regimen must be taken for 6 months or longer. MDR-TB or XDR-TB treatment can require up to 30 months of treatment, including thousands of pills and months of daily injections.
Long treatment times and side effects result in poor adherence, burdening patients and health systems with a disease that becomes more difficult and expensive to treat each time a patient doesn't complete their course of drugs. Few of the roughly 450,000 MDR-TB patients each year receive proper care, and of those, more than 1 in 3 will still not be cured.
For children, treatment options are even worse, as there currently are no products on the market designed to treat pediatric TB with appropriate formulations. Therefore, they must be treated by manipulating adult regimens, which complicates treatment, promotes poor outcomes, and the development of drug resistance.
Without new treatments, we cannot stop the pandemic.