Mass use of antibiotics promotes resistant TB strains
To prevent AIDS patients in Africa suffering from latent tuberculosis (TB) from developing the active form of TB, the World He alth Organization (WHO) recommends widespread therapy with isoniazid – an effective antibiotic against the bacterial lung disease. However, this could significantly accelerate the emergence of resistant TB strains.
Harvard University scientists led by Ted Cohen and Megan Murray arrived at this disturbing finding by using mathematical models to calculate the impact of he alth programs with extensive use of isoniazid in Africa. Accordingly, the preventive treatment of entire village communities with the antibiotic leads to a significant decrease in TB cases in the short term, but on the other hand significantly promotes the formation of insensitive Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogens in the long term.
The researchers still consider treating patients with the drug to be desirable, but strongly advise a review of the strategy. Local authorities, medical professionals and the WHO should pay attention to the development of TB strains and, if necessary, be prepared to fight resistant tuberculosis bacteria.