Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Youtube Video Competition on Need of New Drugs for TB
Zakir Thomas

Tuberculosis is a curable infectious disease. Yet every 20 seconds it kills someone somewhere in the world. In India alone two people die of TB every three minutes. However we do not hear a media outcry or a newsblitz on these deaths that regularly happen, day after day, year after year. This is because TB related deaths are so regular that it has ceased to be news.

The current TB therapy is a combination of four drugs (rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, ethionamide) administered over a period of six to nine months. This therapy is to be administered under the direct supervision of a physician, called, Directly Observed Therapy, short duration (DOTS) (it is left to you to wonder who is the optimist who chose a six month treatment as a short duration therapy).   DOTS do have issues of hepatotoxicity and the long duration itself leads to treatment drop out and failures. Treatment failures and dropouts lead to multidrug resistant TB (MDRTB) which requires a lengthier (18 months) recourse more toxic second line therapy. Emergence of extremely drug resistant (XDRTB) is a serious cause of worry as many drugs are ineffective. MDR and XDR arises when common TB goes untreated or when person drops out of treatment.

The urgent need is to find new and more effective drugs that are of shorter duration and less toxic.

The DOTS drugs were discovered in the fifties and the sixties of the last century. Over more than four decades no new first line drugs have been invented. There are several reasons for this. The inventive pharmaceutical companies do not have adequate incentives to invest in the drugs for TB as the market size of TB is estimated  to be less than four hundred dollars while the estimated cost of drug development is much higher.

It is not insignificant that most people who contract TB or die of it are from the poorer sections of the society living in the developing and least developed regions of the world. They do not have a voice to say that that all lives, wherever you belong to, have equal value.

To enable you to give a voice to the voiceless TB patients, OSDD ( along with Vigyan Prasaar ( has organized a Youtube based short video competition. This competition is open for entries till 26 November, 2012. The prizes will be determined by an experienced jury who will also consider the number of online ‘likes’ you have received for your video. There are first, second and third prizes and 20 merit prizes to win. Anyone above 18 can participate. The duration of the movie shall be less then 5 minutes. You may even shoot from your mobile and upload like a citizen journalist, fill the form and submit it for competition. More details are at:

However, this is more than a competition. It is about giving a voice to the unheard and suffering TB patients. It is about a category of diseases called neglected diseases. It is about creating awareness about the desperate need of new drugs for TB

It will give  you a chance to speak up of the need of new drugs for TB.

To know more about TB, please visit

To read about TB in India, please see a recent series in The Hindu
India’s Tuberculosis Challenge by R Prasad
India has highest number of Multi Drug Cases in South Asia by Aarti Dhar