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This study aimed to predict the impacts of shorter duration treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) on both MDR-TB percentage among new cases and overall MDR-TB cases in the WHO Southeast Asia Region. A deterministic compartmental model was constructed to describe both the transmission of TB and the MDR-TB situation in the Southeast Asia region. The population-level impacts of short-course treatment regimens were compared with the impacts of conventional regimens. Multi-way analysis was used to evaluate the impact by varying programmatic factors (eligibility for short-course MDR-TB treatment, treatment initiation, and drug susceptibility test (DST) coverage). The model predicted that overall TB incidence will be reduced from 246 (95% credible intervals (CrI), 221-275) per 100,000 population in 2020 to 239 (95% CrI, 215-267) per 100,000 population in 2035, with a modest reduction of 2.8% (95% CrI, 2.7%-2.9%). Despite the slight reduction in overall TB infections, the model predicted that the MDR-TB percentage among newly notified TB infections will remain steady, with 2.4% (95% CrI, 2.1-2.9) in 2020 and 2.5% (95% CrI, 2.3-3.1) in 2035, using conventional MDR-TB treatment. With the introduction of short-course regimens to treat MDR-TB, the development of resistance can be slowed by 38.6% (95% confidence intervals (CI), 35.9-41.3) reduction in MDR-TB case number, and 37.6% (95% CI, 34.9-40.3) reduction in MDR-TB percentage among new TB infections over the 30-year period compared with the baseline using the standard treatment regimen. The multi-way analysis showed eligibility for short-course treatment and treatment initiation greatly influenced the impacts of short-course treatment regimens on reductions in MDR-TB cases and percentage resistance among new infections. Policies which promote the expansion of short-course regimens and early MDR-TB treatment initiation should be considered along with other interventions to tackle antimicrobial resistance in the region.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date