Great progress has been made in the development of antituberculosis drugs, and at present two potent substances and one less potent substance are in common use (isoniazid, streptomycin, and PAS). In addition, several other substances of lower potency and higher toxicity are available, which are used when the organisms have become resistant to the main drugs. There has thus been no major advance in this problem since 1952.
What is needed, in order of increasing importance, is 1) an alternative to PAS, i.e., an orally active and well-tolerated drug which can be combined with isoniazid, 2) an additional drug of the order of potency of isoniazid and preferably active by oral administration, and 3) a drug which will eradicate the disease much more rapidly than any so far discovered, so that early cases of the disease can be cured as rapidly as penicillin cures syphilis.
These achievements would not seem impossible in the light of modern chemotherapeutic research, and it is thus rather deplorable that the problem of the drug treatment of tuberculosis is in many quarters considered as essentially solved.