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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1993 Dec;32(6):867-75.

The early bactericidal activity of rifabutin in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis measured by sputum viable counts: a new method of drug assessment.

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National Tuberculosis Research Programme, Tuberculosis Research Institute of the MRC, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.


The activity of rifabutin and rifampicin against rapidly growing, extra-cellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis in cavity walls was measured by counting colony-forming units (cfu) in the sputum of 74 patients with newly diagnosed, severe pulmonary tuberculosis during the first 2 days of daily chemotherapy. The fall in counts, (log10 cfu/mL sputum/day), was termed the early bactericidal activity (EBA). The EBA, a highly reproducible measure within groups of 10-13 patients, was -0.015 for a low EBA reference group (who received no chemotherapy) and 0.495 for a high EBA reference group (who received 300 mg isoniazid daily). The EBAs in patients receiving 300 and 600 mg rifabutin were 0.014 and 0.075, and for those taking 150, 300 and 600 mg rifampicin 0.021, 0.150 and 0.204, respectively. Weight-for-weight, the ratio rifabutin to rifampicin producing the same EBA was estimated to be 2.73 (95% confidence limits 1.96-3.78). Determination of the EBA is a rapid and economical method of comparing the potency in human lesions of drugs of the same type before embarking on a conventional clinical trial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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