The findings of a new international study headed by Dr. Dick Menzies of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Montreal should lead to a significant revision of the global guidelines for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The study concludes that new drugs to fight this type of tuberculosis are proving to be more effective than traditionally used medications.
According to the work of Dr. Menzies’ team, these new drugs result in better cure rates and lower mortality rates than currently used treatments. In addition to that, the study shows that it is not absolutely necessary to make daily injections, as provided for by traditional drug treatments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already responded to the findings of the research group led by Dr. Menzies by fully adopting its conclusions. The results of this work are published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Canadian researchers came up with more effective drugs for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
Africa is the most affected continent by tuberculosis, with more than 281 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014. At the other end of the list, there’s Canada where the rate is of only 4.4 cases per 100,000 people.
The majority of reported cases of active tuberculosis in Canada occur among people born outside Canada (57.9%) and in Inuit communities. Thanks to the treatment and follow-up of people with the disease, the number of new cases is low in Canada. Approximately 1500 cases are reported each year.
In Quebec, the number of these cases varies between about 200 to 280 per year. Tuberculosis rates in Quebec are among the lowest in Canada.
In the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Inuit with tuberculosis were deported from their communities to hospitals in southern Canada for treatment. These deportations were part of the government’s measures to combat the disease that was ravaging the population. Many deportees never returned home, and their fate remains a mystery to this day.