Patients in whom acid-fast bacilli smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis was newly diagnosed were randomized to receive 400 mg moxifloxacin, 300 mg isonaizid, or 600 mg rifampin daily for 5 days. Sixteen-hour overnight sputa collections were made for the 2 days before and for 5 days of monotherapy. Bactericidal activity was estimated by the time taken to kill 50% of viable bacilli (vt50) and the fall in sputum viable count during the first 2 days designated as the early bactericidal activity (EBA). The mean vt50 of moxifloxacin was 0.88 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.43-1.33 days) and the mean EBA was 0.53 (95% CI 0.28-0.79). For the isoniazid group, the mean vt50 was 0.46 days (95% CI, 0.31-0.61 days) and the mean EBA was 0.77 (95% CI, 0.54-1.00). For rifampin, the mean vt50 was 0.71 days (95% CI, 0.48-0.95 days) and the mean EBA was 0.28 (95% CI, 0.15-0.41). Using the EBA method, isoniazid was significantly more active than rifampin (p < 0.01) but not moxifloxacin. Using the vt50 method, isoniazid was more active than both rifampin and moxifloxacin (p = 0.03). Moxifloxacin has an activity similar to rifampin in human subjects with pulmonary tuberculosis, suggesting that it should undergo further assessment as part of a short course regimen for the treatment of drug-susceptible tuberculosis.