A preliminary study suggests that a cocktail of three drugs could provide a quicker and better tolerated treatment for people infected with tuberculosis (TB) and could potentially work on difficult-to-treat forms of the disease that are resistant to other drugs. Unlike some existing TB treatments, the cocktail is thought to be compatible with HIV therapies, which would be an important improvement given that TB is the leading cause of death among people infected with HIV.
Researchers tested the ability of different compounds to treat tuberculosis patients recruited from clinics in Cape Town, South Africa. A combination of two existing TB drugs and one experimental compound seemed to work the best, reducing the amount of TB bacteria in patients by 99% in just two weeks, reports Nature News.
According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis killed around 1.4 million people in 2010 and the vast majority of these deaths occurred in developing countries.
The triple combo was only tested in 13 patients over 14 days; longer and larger trials will be needed to confirm the results.