Johnson & Johnson won accelerated U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its tuberculosis tablet Sirturo, the first medicine in 40 years that provides a new way to treat the contagious lung infection.

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The FDA cleared Sirturo to be added to existing therapies for use by adults whose illness is resistant to multiple drugs, New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J said yesterday in a statement.

There were 8.7 million new cases worldwide of tuberculosis in 2011, with multidrug-resistant forms accounting for as many as 400,000 cases, according to a World Health Organization report. The international charity Doctors Without Borders called approval of Sirturo "an immense milestone," and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the drug adds a new weapon "to the arsenal for fighting this deadly, contagious disease." -- Bloomberg News