Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are fatally synergistic. In high-burden countries, people with HIV/AIDS are 20 times more likely to contract TB than those not suffering from HIV/AIDS, and reciprocally, TB bacteria can hasten the progression of an HIV infection, causing patients to become sicker more rapidly.
TB is the leading infectious killer of people with HIV/AIDS, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where it causes up to half of all AIDS deaths. TB-HIV co-infections are also on the rise in other areas of the world, particularly Western Asia, including China, and Eastern Europe. As long as HIV/AIDS continues to spread, TB will remain a constant and deadly threat.
New ARV-compatible TB drugs
are needed to harmonize treatment
of TB & HIV/AIDS
Anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy is today's most effective, available treatment option for controlling the progression of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Unfortunately, drug-drug interactions between the current first-line TB regimen and certain commonly used ARVs complicate treatment for co-infected patients. Rifampin, a cornerstone of the current TB regimen, induces the enzyme cytochrome P450. Cytochrome P450 causes some AIDS drugs to be metabolized too quickly, inhibiting effective ARV therapy. To avoid drug-drug interactions in co-infected patients, new treatment regimens are urgently needed.
The deadly synergy of these two diseases demands first-line treatments that can be fully harmonized. New TB drugs, developed to avoid ARV interactions, are essential to treat the growing number of people dually infected with TB and HIV. A faster, better regimen would also speed time to cure for patients severely weakened by the deadly co-infection.
The TB Alliance considers compatibility with ARVs among its criteria for developing new drugs. All of our projects in clinical stage development test regimens in which rifampin has been removed in favor of new, ARV-compatible TB drug candidates.
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