Very Not Good, to quote somebody on Facebook.
Drug-resistant TB has now emerged in India; it had already been found in Italy and Iran.
The development of some kind of resistance is pretty much inevitable. The
of that development really isn’t.
Although the WHO describes TB as a â€œdisease of povertyâ€, drug-resistant varieties might best be understood as resulting from poor treatment. According to a 2011 WHO report, fewer than 5% of newly diagnosed or previously treated patients are tested for drug resistance. And it is estimated that just 16% of patients with drug-resistant TB are receiving appropriate treatment.
“The cases are a story of mismanagement,â€ says Migliori. â€œResistance is man-made, caused by exposure to the wrong treatment, the wrong regimen, the wrong treatment duration.”
In the management of TB, many factors affect whether the disease is cured or becomes resistant to treatment. Drug misuse or mismanagement can result if a patient does not follow a full course of treatment, or if the correct drugs are not available or patients with undiagnosed resistant TB receive inappropriate therapies.
And then there’s the usual economics behind it:
Tuberculosis trails behind only HIV as the world’s leading cause of death from infectious disease. But in spite of its impact on human health and economic growth, it has not ranked among the pharmaceutical industry’s priorities.
“The pharmaceutical industry had scant interest in TB for decades,” says Richard Chaisson, director of the Center for TB Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “The industry pretty much concluded it wasn’t an attractive market, there was not enough potential profit.”