Results of an international study show a new combination of drugs means that drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) can be cured in as little as four months, instead of two years, local media reported on Monday.
The drug combination, known as PaMZ, killed more bacteria than standard treatment and was effective in treating drug-resistant TB, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) reported.
"This shows its potential to shorten therapy ... for drug- sensitive and some forms of multi-drug-resistant TB," said Dr Mel Spigelman, chief executive of the TB Alliance.
The results have been released at the International AIDS conference in Melbourne because around the world, TB remains the largest killer of people with AIDS.
"Seventy-one percent of people treated with PaMZ were cleared of bacteria at the end of two months when evaluated with the most sensitive diagnostic methods available," the report authors found.
"Only 38 percent of people treated with standard therapy were clear at eight weeks."
Researchers say the newer therapy can be delivered more cheaply, safely and simply than current standard therapy.
Because of the latest results, a large phase three study will proceed with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Australia has also promised to support the development of new TB treatments as part of the Global Partnership for TB drugs.