Sunday, 1 April 2012

OSDD moves a step ahead: New and effective drugs for tuberculosis will be developed in India for the first time

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  New and effective drugs for tuberculosis will be
developed in the country for the first time under open source. India
has already decoded the genome of the tuberculosis pathogen using the
open source drug discovery (OSDD) mode. OSDD is an open platform
involving research ideas from practically anyone in the world and
since it does not involve a pharmaceutical firm, the drugs discovered
through this mode are quite affordable.

The new drugs to be developed will help in fighting the deadly
drug-resistant TB in the country. The OSDD has joined hands with the
TB Alliance to translate the innovative ideas from the open source
platform into medicines to treat tuberculosis, which is increasingly
turning resistant to all known drugs.

TB is a leading global killer, but its impact is felt hardest in
India. The WHO estimates that each year, 2.3 million people in India
contract TB, and 3.20 lakh people die from the disease. The current
treatment is old and inadequate, which is fueling the growth of
drug-resistant TB.

India has the highest prevalence of drug-resistant TB. Nearly 1,00,000patients in India suffer from multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Recentreports of 12 cases of a new class of Extensively Drug Resistant(XDR-) TB highlighted the severity of the problem and the drug to bedeveloped under the OSDD is aimed at fighting this major healthchallenge.

“Today, there are a few new TB drugs being developed around the world,
and it’s critical for India,  which has the world’s highest burden of
tuberculosis, to bring new drugs to its patients. OSDD will play a
leading role in supporting and furthering innovation,” according to
Prof Sameer Brahmachary, CSIR director general.

The new TB drugs will be developed in India, so that patients can
receive these desperately needed life-saving treatments as soon as
possible. These novel drugs or combinations of drugs that may
ultimately gain regulatory approval will be available in the country
at affordable costs to the patients keeping with both organizations'

Currently, someone with drug-sensitive TB must take a course of drugs
for six months, while those with MDR-TB must take an injection along
with a number of drugs for the first six months and continue that drug
treatment for 18 months or longer. Many patients fail to complete
treatment because they cannot tolerate the difficult side effects of
the medications and fail to adhere to the long treatment. This leads
to the development of drug resistance.

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