What is the mechanism behind the immune response?
We're still not sure, but we strongly suspect that it is not a single mechanism. Our focus, however, is very deliberately NOT to use our limited resources to work out what the mechanisms might be at this stage: more importantly we are using them to establish whether or not the treatment is effective and also whether it is safe.
Does moxa work against DR-TB?
For us, this is the most important question of all. Theoretically, a positive immune response should help a patient recover from any type of TB. Since it was being used in Japan before TB drugs were developed, then there is good reason to speculate that it might help in cases of drug-resistance where drugs are failing. It also might help in survival rates in patients with other drug-resistant diseases.
Are there any side effects from Moxibustion?
We can categorically state that in the course of three pilot studies and one randomised control trial we have not had one case of serious adverse reactions reported. However, there is a definite risk of infection if the treatment is used over-enthusiastically, especially with patients whose immune systems are compromised. We are also very careful that patients are properly instructed to stop the treatment if there were to be any signs of infection at all and report this to their health worker. The only complaint we have had from patients is that their increase in appetite is sometimes more than can be easily supported by them. This is clearly unfortunate for them but, since TB is a wasting disease, it has to also be seen as a very encouraging sign of a strong recovery response.