Scientists from the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University announced in Paris clinical trials have shown that an antibiotic can prevent multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in both children and adults.
The researchers found the drug, levofloxacin, administered once daily to children over six months, was extremely safe.
Over half a million people develop MDR-TB each year, it is both hard to treat with current medications and it is very expensive.
The scientists say they have found a way to safely protect children when an adult in the household has multidrug resistant tuberculosis.
In the TB-CHAMP trial carried out in South Africa, 453 children who had been exposed to an adult with MDR-TB in their household were given levofloxacin. Only five developed the disease.
They also found that the V-QUIN trial showed that levofloxacin reduced the risk of adults and youngsters contracting MDR-TB by 45%.