New drugs, but also shorter, better-tolerated regimens are needed to tackle the high global burden of tuberculosis complicated by drug resistance and retroviral disease. We investigated new multiple-agent combinations over the first 14 days of treatment to assess their suitability for future development.
In this prospective, randomised, early bactericidal activity (EBA) study, treatment-naive, drug-susceptible patients with uncomplicated pulmonary tuberculosis were admitted to hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa, between Oct 7, 2010, and Aug 19, 2011. Patients were randomised centrally by computer-generated randomisation sequence to receive bedaquiline, bedaquiline-pyrazinamide, PA-824-pyrazinamide, bedaquiline-PA-824, PA-824-moxifloxacin-pyrazinamide, or unmasked standard antituberculosis treatment as positive control. The primary outcome was the 14-day EBA assessed in a central laboratory from the daily fall in colony forming units (CFU) of M tuberculosis per mL of sputum in daily overnight sputum collections. Bilinear regression curves were fitted for each group separately and groups compared with ANOVA for ranks, followed by pair-wise comparisons adjusted for multiplicity. Clinical staff were partially masked but laboratory personnel were fully masked. This study is registered, NCT01215851.
The mean 14-day EBA of PA-824-moxifloxacin-pyrazinamide (n=13; 0·233 [SD 0·128]) was significantly higher than that of bedaquiline (14; 0·061 [0·068]), bedaquiline-pyrazinamide (15; 0·131 [0·102]), bedaquiline-PA-824 (14; 0·114 [0·050]), but not PA-824-pyrazinamide (14; 0·154 [0·040]), and comparable with that of standard treatment (ten; 0·140 [0·094]). Treatments were well tolerated and appeared safe. One patient on PA-824-moxifloxacin-pyrazinamide was withdrawn because of corrected QT interval changes exceeding criteria prespecified in the protocol.
PA-824-moxifloxacin-pyrazinamide is potentially suitable for treating drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Multiagent EBA studies can contribute to reducing the time needed to develop new antituberculosis regimens.