Progress in leprosy research
Recently, three new drugs, namely, ofloxacin-a fluoroquinolone, clarithromycin-a macrolide and minocycline -a tetracycline, all acting by different mechanisms, have shown very promising antileprosy activity in experimental models and short-term clinical trials. These drugs offer the potential for increasing the effectiveness and shortening the duration of antileprosy chemotherapy. In addition, new drugs may prove useful against Mycobacterium leprae strains resistant to the drugs currently in use, especially the strains resistant to rifampicin.
Progress with the ofloxacin-multicentre field trial The main objectives of this trial are to evaluate the efficacy, acceptability and feasibility of ofloxacin-containing combined regimens in a multicentric, randomized controlled clinical trial in both multibacillary and paucibacillary leprosy patients.
Fifteen centres from eight endemic countries are participating in this trial. The intake of nearly 4 000 newly diagnosed leprosy patients was completed in June 1994. Patients will be followed-up for a period of 5-7 years after completion of treatment to detect relapses, if any. However, some preliminary results may be available by 1998.