J&K man brings home laurels with discovery of anti-TB drug

Living miles away from the Kashmir, Anil Koul has made his home State proud by his involvement in the discovery and clinical development of a drug to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, which affects millions of people across the globe.
“It is proud moment for me to be part of a team that led to discovery and development of the new drug – Sirturo – for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis, which still kills millions of people each year across the world,” Dr Koul, Research Director at Janssen, Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson and Johnson, in Belgium, told PTI.
“It is a big milestone for the public healthcare system in several countries and for all the patients suffering from this dreaded disease,” Dr Koul, who has bagged two prestigious awards — ‘Johnson Medal’ and ‘Swiss-TB prize’ — for his contributions, said. Sirturo, also known as bedaquiline, is a diarylquinoline anti-tuberculosis drug. It is the first medication for pulmonary multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
For 10 years, Koul had been working on discovery and development of Sirturo at Janssen, the pharmaceuticals unit of American multinational Johnson & Johnson, in Beerse, Belgium. And then came the biggest moment for him when Sirturo was finally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 and the European Union in February 2014.
“Bedaquline (Sirturo) had been the first new drug to be approved by FDA for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis in 40 years… This product is a shining example of what we do every day, what we stand for and our commitments towards millions of patients across the whole world,” Koul said.
Koul, who hails from Srinagar city, said, “About 1.5 million people die of TB each year. It is such a shame that in spite of all the technological advancements of the 21st century, so many people are still dying of tuberculosis.”

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