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MSF Warns Global Shortage Of Drug-Resistant TB Treatment Likely

As countries increase the use of the GeneXpert test, a two-hour molecular TB test released in 2010, “enabl[ing] them to diagnose more patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), a worldwide shortage of the drugs to treat these patients is likely, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warns,” according to PlusNews.

“South Africa, which has the world’s fifth-largest burden of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases, will replace all microscope-based TB diagnoses with faster, more sensitive GeneXpert testing within two years,” which “could double the number of MDR-TB cases diagnosed … according to Norbert Ndjeka, director of DR-TB, TB and HIV at the South African National Department of Health,” the news agency reports. “Treating MDR-TB patients takes up about half South Africa’s TB budget” already, and “MSF has estimated that without lower DR-TB costs, South Africa will be spending as much as $630 million on treatment by 2015,” PlusNews writes (8/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.