Common antibiotic can prevent drug-resistant TB in exposed kids, says study. But is it safe?

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Indian Express

Taking difficult-to-swallow drugs, enduring painful injections and being hospitalised can be a traumatic experience for a child with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). But two new clinical trials have now shown that a cheap and widely available antibiotic pill, levofloxacin, can prevent this disease in children who have been exposed to MDR-TB. Not only that, it is safe and well-tolerated by them.

Why two trials offer hope?

Two clinical trials —TB-CHAMP and VQUIN – provide supportive evidence about safe and effective treatment to prevent multidrug-resistant TB in both children and adults. The findings were presented at the World Union Conference on Lung Health in Paris.

How do the finding work for India?

These guideline-changing trials inform national policies on how close contacts of MDR-TB patients can receive preventive therapy with levifloxacin, a widely available drug in India. As Dr Vidya Mave, Director, Johns Hopkins India Program, says, “India has already rolled out levofloxacin prophylaxis for MDR-TB household contacts and these trial results provide much needed evidence in this space.”