The results add to a growing body of evidence that the new regimen could reduce the treatment length by more than a year for some patients, especially those with the more stubborn form, Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB).
With all continents except Africa being on track to achieve a 50% decline in mortality by 2015, the shorter treatment period will be good news for countries struggling with the respiratory disease.
The study involved drug-susceptible patients with uncomplicated pulmonary tuberculosis who were admitted to hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa, between October 7, 2010, and August 19, 2011.
Patients were recruited from outpatient clinics and then admitted into hospital for the study duration. They were aged between18 to 65 years, with a body weight from 40 to 90 kg.
Patients with HIV infection participated if their CD4+ count was greater than 300, and were not on antiretroviral treatment.
After discharge, patients were referred to their local tuberculosis clinic to complete a standard course of anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy and returned for follow-up visits at the site of the research 14 days, 28 days, and 90 days after discharge.