George Kebaso @Morarak
The government will unveil Rifapentine and Isoniazid (3HP) drugs, a short-term regimen used in treatment of latent tuberculosis (TB).
Yesterday’s announcement by the Health ministry’s National TB Programme comes just as US-based Aurum Institute revealed that the short-term regimen for preventing TB was found to be safe when co-administered with a new first-line HIV drug — dolutegravir (DTG).
The new study paves way for enhanced TB prevention among people living with HIV.
Head of the National TB programme Maureen Kamene said the agency is planning to introduce Rifapentine and Isoniazid in concerted efforts to prevent TB.
“This is a patient-friendly regimen that is taken once a week for three months. The country plans to treat 900,000 patients using this regimen once it is rolled out,” she told People Daily yesterday.
The TB programme, however, is not certain on the dates the regimen will be rolled out.
Kamene said since the new TB treatment guidelines have been released, the rollout may be determined by March 24, during the commemoration of the World TB Day.
“We already have funds set aside for this programme but we are not sure of the exact date when the rollout should take place,” she said.
In 2013, the US government approved Bedaquiline and delamanid for use in treatment of patients with extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).
World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends adding either Bedaquiline and delamanid to the MDR-TB regimen. By 2015, only 5,700 patients in the world were on the drugs.
In 2014, WHO declared TB the leading infectious killer globally ahead of HIV after it claimed 1.6 million lives globally and 299,000 in Kenya to TB.
In 2016, there were 600,000 new cases of resistance to Rifampicin (RR TB), the most effective first-line TB drug, out of which 490,000 had MDR-TB.
In 2017, two-thirds of patients on Bedaquiline were in South Africa, where out of the about 11,000 patients being treated for drug-resistant TB, 7,000 are on the drug, giving them higher chances of survival.
Presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), the study by Aurum found that weekly administration of Rifapentine and Isoniazid (3HP) for three months in adults living with HIV, taking DTG was well-tolerated, with no need for dose-adjustment.
“We’ve known for some time that preventive therapy for TB is a critical component of any effort to control the TB epidemic,” said Prof Gavin Churchyard, group chief executive of Aurum Institute and co-principal investigator in the study.