China Daily (Africa) (04.19.13)
Accounting for 25 percent of global multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB), China currently has nearly 120,000 new cases on the mainland each year, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. MDR TB is defined as TB that is resistant to first-line drugs isoniazid and rifampicin and requires much more expensive treatment compared with common TB. According to Chen Mingting, deputy director of the National Center for Tuberculosis of China CDC, MDR TB causes substantial economic and human resource losses. Citing previous studies conducted by China CDC, without effective intervention, the number of MDR TB cases in China is expected to reach 710,000 by the year 2020. Currently, the government provides free treatment for common TB but not for MDR TB, which is much more costly to treat. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 4 percent of newly-infected individuals are initially resistant to multiple drugs, meaning that MDR TB is being transmitted directly from person to person. China’s State Food and Drug Administration has approved the new drug Sirturo, manufactured by Xi’an Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd., to provide additional drug choices for treating MDR TB.