FDA approves J&J drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from Johnson & Johnson for patients with tuberculosis who do not respond to other treatments, the company announced.

Tuberculosis is an air-spread infection that usually attacks the lungs, but also affect the brain, the spine and the kidneys. The drug blocks an energy-producing enzyme the tuberculosis bacteria needs to survive and is the first drug in 40 years to attempt to cure the disease using this type of treatment.

Following a positive review by an advisory panel last month, the FDA on Monday approved the drug, chemically known as bedaquiline and to be marketed as Sirturo.

In 2011, nearly 9 million people around the world became sick with TB, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there were 1.4 million TB-related deaths. The disease requires six to nine months of drug treatment.