TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — U.S. regulators have approved a new tuberculosis medicine that shortens and improves treatment for the hardest-to-treat cases, a worsening problem in many poor countries.

It's the first TB drug developed by a nonprofit group, the TB Alliance, which was formed to come up with better treatments.

The Food and Drug Administration approved pretomanid (preh-TOH'-meh-nihd) for use with two other drugs for TB, which attacks the lungs. In testing, the three-pill combo cured about 90% of patients with very drug-resistant TB, usually within 6 months. It also appears to stop patients spreading the deadly bacterial infection after just a few days' treatment.

Until now, the best option cured about two-thirds of patients and took 18 to 30 months, according to the TB Alliance.

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