July 2, 2012 in Health

J&J seeks OK for first drug against resistant TB

Ng Han Guan photo

In this Friday, March 27, 2009 photo, a visitor wearing a mask walks near a poster promoting tuberculosis awareness which reads, “Control TB, Everyone’s Duty” and a yellow “Do Not Spit” sign at the Beijing Chest Hospital which specializes in the treatment of tuberculosis near in Tongzhou, China. One in 10 cases of tuberculosis in China cannot be treated by the most commonly-used drugs, a problem driven by lack of testing and misuse of medicine, according to a national survey made in 2007 and published Thursday, June 7, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that shows for the first time the size of the epidemic of drug-resistant forms of the killer lung disease. (
(Full-size photo)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is seeking U.S. approval for the first new type of medicine to fight deadly tuberculosis in more than four decades.

The experimental drug, called bedaquiline (beh-DAK’will-ihn), also would be the first drug specifically for treating multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. That’s an increasingly common form in which at least two of the four primary TB drugs don’t work.

Tuberculosis, caused by bacterial infection of the lungs and other body areas, is the world’s No. 2 killer of adults among infectious diseases.

Roughly one-third of the world’s population is estimated to be infected with the bacteria causing tuberculosis, which kills nearly 3,800 people a day.

J&J’s Janssen Research & Development unit created the drug.

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