New capsule to cure tuberculosis faster

Islamabad, January 20 (Newswire): A pharmaceutical research centre here has developed a capsule for tuberculosis patients which it claims can reduce the treatment period by half.

The capsule has been developed by B.V. Patel Pharmaceutical Educational and Research Development (PERD) Centre, and will soon undergo clinical trials at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

“The capsule comprising new formulation of Rifampacin and Isoniazid is designed for targeted drug delivery in stomach and intestine respectively of the patients, and its initial trials have shown very encouraging results,” PERD Honorary Director, Mr C.J. Shishoo said.

“The drug was tested on 12 healthy volunteers here in which we checked how much drug was reaching in their blood,” he said.
The clinical trials of the new drug are scheduled to begin at AIIMS where it will be tested on 50 TB patients, the director of PERD, Mr Harish Padh, said.

According to Mr Padh, PERD was the first centre to establish way back in 1999 that Rifampacin and Isoniazid when administered in combination to TB patients lead to 30-35 per cent loss of impact of the former.

“The process leads to longer time duration of treatment in tuberculosis patients, which on an average stretches between six and nine months,” he said.

Rifampacin and Isoniazid are two conventional first line drugs used for last four decades for treatment of TB. They are being administered to patients under the WHO recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) programme.

“The targeted drug delivery through our newly invented capsule ensures that Rifampacin reaches the stomach of patients and Isoniazid goes into intestine,” Mr Shishoo said.

During the treatment period, both the drugs do not come in contact at all with each other. This is the advantage of this targeted drug delivery system.So we firmly believe that this drug has the potential to cut short duration of TB treatment from an average six months to three,” he said.

“The performance of this first new formulation in India shall be known once the phase-III trials get over at AIIMS,” he said.
This project on new drug discovery is funded by the Government of India and the department of Bio-technology, where the latter has provided a grant of Rs 50 lakh so far, he said.