Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Partners In Health (PIH) and other leading medical organizations have launched a major clinical trial which seeks to revolutionize treatment for the toughest strains of tuberculosis (TB). The first patient started treatment in Georgia earlier this month.
This phase III clinical trial is part of a UNITAID-funded transformative project called endTB, which aims to speed up and expand access to better and shorter treatments for drug-resistant forms of TB. The four-year, US$60 million project, being implemented by PIH, MSF and Interactive Research and Development (IRD), targets 15 countries across three continents. The trial uses bedaquiline and delamanid to find radically shorter (9 months), injection-free, more tolerable treatments for MDR-TB. These new drugs will be combined into experimental new treatments with other oral TB drugs such as clofazimine, linezolid, fluoroquinolones and pyrazinamide.
The endTB project is expected to enroll an estimated 2,600 MDR-TB patients on treatment with the new TB drugs, and 750 patients will take part in a clinical trial across six countries: Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Peru and South Africa.
As stated by Dr. Carole Mitnick, co-principal investigator of the endTB clinical trial from PIH and Harvard Medical School, “Together, PIH and MSF have expanded structures, resources, treatment, evidence, and ambitions for this and other complex diseases affecting poor people. The endTB clinical trial is a natural extension of this decades-long collaboration between two organizations that place priority on expanding access to proven, high-quality interventions among patients who need them, regardless of economic or socio-political situations in which they live.”
Read the full press statement here.