A new study has revealed that some people who have TB can be treated in as little as two months, as opposed to six months of treatment, the standard duration of care in most countries since the 1980s.
According to a statement released on Friday, the rationale behind the study dubbed ‘TRUNCATE TB’ is that doctors are over-treating the majority of people who have drug-susceptible TB (DS-TB) who would actually be cured before the 6-month mark, to prevent relapse in a minority of people who would need the long treatment regimen.
Erlina Burhan, a TB expert from the Faculty of Medicine Universities Indonesia is quoted in the statement saying the new data is eye-opening since it reveals the standard six-month treatment is actually over-treating a lot of people who have TB.
Burhan made the remarks as findings were being presented at the Union World Conference on Lung Health 2022. The TRUNCATE-TB Trial is a randomized controlled trial conducted at 18 sites across five countries of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and Uganda, and is coordinated from Singapore.
The trial investigates a treatment strategy comprising an initial 2-month treatment course using regimens combining standard and repurposed drugs intended to boost regimen sterilizing efficacy, followed by close monitoring and early re-treatment of relapses.
A total of 674 trial participants were recruited from from March 2018 to March 2022 from these 5 countries. Trial participants were initially given eight weeks of treatment, with the option of extending treatment to 10 to 12 weeks if they had a persistent clinical disease after the eight-week treatment.
If there was still active TB after that, participants were switched to the standard six-month treatment. It was noted that the overall death rate was low and there was no difference in the death rate between the standard treatment arm and the TRUNCATE strategy arms.