CADET NEWS AGENCY
A new research study has found that HIV positive adults may be able to keep TB coinfection at bay by using anti Aids drugs.
Led by Amitabh Suthar of the World Health Organization of, the study found that antitertoviral therapy (ART) protects against tuberculosis infection irrespective of the CD4 count (white blood cell count)
at which HIV positive adults start ART.
Published in the open access journal Plos Medicine the review paper combined 11 studies from Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. It found that study participants taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) across all CD4 cell counts had a 65% reduction in their risk of developing tuberculosis compared to study participants who were not receiving ART.
In 2009 the WHO recommended that HIV positive people start ART at a CD4 count of 350 cells.
A novel finding of the paper was that HIV positive adults starting ART at a CD4 count above 350 cells/ L had a 57% reduction in the risk of TB infection.
“This review found that antiretroviral therapy is strongly associated with a reduction in tuberculosis incidence in adults with HIV across all CD4 cell counts,” said Suthar.
The key finding of the study was that antiretroviral therapy had a significant impact on preventing tuberculosis in adults with CD4 counts above 350 cells.
The study authours recommended their results to be considered by healthcare providers, researchers, policymakers, and people living with HIV when weighing the benefits and risks of initiating antiretroviral therapy above 350 cells.
In another study TB scientists at Stellenbosch conducted a two week trial with a drug combination known as PaMZ. The study published in New Scientist, tested the drug on sputum samples from groups of people with TB in Cape Town. PaMZ outperformed all other combinations, killing 99 per cent of TB bacteria within two weeks - matching the four-drug treatment for ordinary TB which has to be taken over many months
Andreas Diacon, the lead researcher on the study told the Cape Times that the next phase of the research is a larger trial done over 8 weeks.
“If that is successful we hope to have the treatment ready by 2016,” Diacon said.