The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it had approved a new treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis that can be used as an alternative when other drugs fail.
The drug, to be called Sirturo, was discovered by scientists at Janssen, the pharmaceuticals unit of Johnson & Johnson, and is the first in a new class of drugs that aims to treat the drug-resistant strain of the disease.
Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease that is transmitted through the air and usually affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body, including the brain and kidneys. It is considered one of the world’s most serious public health threats. Although rare in the United States, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is a growing problem elsewhere in the world, especially in poorer countries. About 12 million people worldwide had tuberculosis in 2011, according to Johnson & Johnson, and about 630,000 had multidrug-resistant TB.