January 2019 Newsletter


FIND, the World Health Organization, the New Diagnostics Working Group and MSF Access Campaign are co-organizing a four-part webinar series on the use and implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) for drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). The series will take place on 5, 12, 19, and 26 February 2019. More information about these webinars and their specific times can be found here.


1. Ambient air pollution exposures and risk of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Environ Int. 2019 Jan 11;124:161-169. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.013. [Epub ahead of print]
Yao L, LiangLiang C, JinYue L, WanMei S, Lili S, YiFan L, HuaiChen L.

BACKGROUND: Few epidemiological studies have explored the effects of air pollution on the risk of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB).
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the short and long term residential concentrations of ambient air pollutants (particulate matter <10 μm in diameter (PM10) and particulate matter≤2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), and carbon monoxide (CO)) in relation to the risk of DR-TB in a typical air pollution city, Jinan city, China.
METHODS: A total of 752 new culture-confirmed TB cases reported in TB prevention and control institutions of Jinan from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015 were included. Average individual-level concentrations of air pollution for 5 different exposure windows, vary from 90 days to 720 days to diagnosis were estimated using measurements from monitor closest to the patient home addresses. Logistic regression model adjusted for potential confounders was employed to evaluate correlation between air pollution and DR-TB risk at different five exposure windows individually.
RESULTS: There were substantially increased mono-drug resistance and poly-drug resistance risks for ambient PM2.5, PM10, O3, and CO exposures. High exposure to PM2.5, PM10, and CO was also significantly associated with increased incidence of multi-drug resistance (MDR) both in the single- and multi-pollutants regression models. The dominant positive associations for PM2.5was observed at 540 days exposure, for O3 was observed at 180 days exposure, and for PM10 and CO was observed from 90 days to 540 days exposures.
CONCLUSIONS: Our finding suggest that exposure to ambient air pollution (PM2.5, PM10, O3, and CO) are associated with increased risk of DR-TB. We provided epidemiological evidence of association between pollution exposure and mono-, poly- and multi-drug resistance.

This article is available for open access here.

2. Interventions to improve retention-in-care and treatment adherence among patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis: a systematic review.
Eur Respir J. 2019 Jan 10;53(1). pii: 1801030. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01030-2018.
Print 2019 Jan.
Law S, Daftary A, O’Donnell M, Padayatchi N, Calzavara L, Menzies D.

ABSTRACT: The global loss to follow-up (LTFU) rate among drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients remains high at 15%. We conducted a systematic review to explore interventions to reduce LTFU during DR-TB treatment.We searched for studies published between January 2000 and December 2017 that provided any form of psychosocial or material support for patients with DR-TB. We estimated point estimates and 95% confidence intervals of the proportion LTFU. We performed subgroup analyses and pooled estimates using an exact binomial likelihood approach.We included 35 DR-TB cohorts from 25 studies, with a pooled proportion LTFU of 17 (12-23)%.  Cohorts that received any form of psychosocial or material support had lower LTFU rates than those that received standard care. Psychosocial support throughout treatment, via counselling sessions or home visits, was associated with lower LTFU rates compared to when support was provided through a limited number of visits or not at all.Our review suggests that psychosocial support should be provided throughout DR-TB treatment in order to reduce treatment LTFU. Future studies should explore the potential of providing self-administered therapy complemented with psychosocial support during the continuation phase.

This article is available for open access here.

3. Such a long journey: What health seeking pathways of patients with drug resistant tuberculosis in Mumbai tell us.
PLoS One. 2019 Jan 17;14(1):e0209924. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209924. eCollection 2019.
Bhattacharya Chakravarty A, Rangan S, Dholakia Y, Rai S, Kamble S, Raste T, Shah S, Shah S, Mistry N.

INTRODUCTION: The Indian Tuberculosis (TB) Programme currently faces the dual challenges of tackling increasing numbers of drug resistant (DR) TB cases and regulating practices of a pluralistic private sector catering to TB patients. A study of health seeking behaviour of DR-TB patients in such a situation, offers an opportunity to understand the problems patients face while interacting with health systems.
METHODOLOGY: Forty-six DR-TB patients drawn from 15 high TB burden wards in Mumbai were interviewed using an open ended interview tool. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Pathway schematics developed from analysis of patient records, were linked to transcripts. Open coding was used to analyse these units and themes were derived after collating the codes.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The paper presents themes interwoven with narratives in the discussions. These include awareness-action gap among patients, role of neighbourhood providers, responsiveness of health systems, the not-such a ‘merry go round’ that patients go/are made to go on while seeking care, costs of diagnostics and treatment, and how DR-TB is viewed as the ‘big TB’.
CONCLUSION: The recommendations are based on a preventative ethos which is sustainable, compared to interventions with top-down approaches, which get piloted, but fail to sustain impact when scaled up.

This article is available for open access here.

4. Pharmacokinetics, safety, and dosing of novel pediatric levofloxacin dispersible  tablets in children with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis exposure.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 Jan 22. pii: AAC.01865-18. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01865-18. [Epub ahead of print]
Garcia-Prats AJ, Purchase SE, Osman M, Draper HR, Schaaf HS, Wiesner L, Denti P, Hesseling AC.

ABSTRACT: This study characterized the pharmacokinetics of novel 100 mg levofloxacin dispersible tablets in 24 children aged <5 years with household MDR-TB exposure. Data was pooled with previously published data from children (n=109) with MDR-TB receiving adult (250 mg) levofloxacin tablets, using nonlinear mixed-effect modelling. The adult 250 mg tablets had 41% lower bioavailability compared to thenovel dispersible tablets, resulting in much higher exposures with the dispersible tablets with the same mg/kg dose.

This article is available for open access here.

5. Efficacy and safety of delamanid in combination with an optimised background regimen for treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group phase 3 trial.
Lancet Respir Med. 2019 Jan 7. pii: S2213-2600(18)30426-0. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(18)30426-0. [Epub ahead of print]
von Groote-Bidlingmaier F, Patientia R, Sanchez E, Balanag V Jr, Ticona E, Segura P, Cadena E, Yu C, Cirule A, Lizarbe V, Davidaviciene E, Domente L, Variava E, Caoili J, Danilovits M, Bielskiene V, Staples S, Hittel N, Petersen C, Wells C, Hafkin J, Geiter LJ, Gupta R.

BACKGROUND: Delamanid is one of two recently approved drugs for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of delamanid in the first 6 months of treatment.

METHODS: This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial was done at 17 sites in seven countries (Estonia, Latvia,  Lithuania, Moldova, Peru, the Philippines, and South Africa). We enrolled eligible adults (>18 years) with pulmonary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis to receive, in combination with an optimised background regimen developed according to WHO and national guidelines, either oral delamanid (100 mg twice daily) for 2 months followed by 200 mg once daily for 4 months or placebo (same regimen). Patients were centrally randomised (2:1) and stratified by risk category for delayed sputum culture conversion. Primary outcomes were the time to sputum culture conversion over 6 months and the difference in the distribution of time to sputum culture conversion over 6 months between the two groups, as assessed in the modified intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01424670.                FINDINGS: Between Sept 2, 2011, and Nov 27, 2013, we screened 714 patients, of whom 511 were randomly assigned (341 to delamanid plus optimised background regimen [delamanid group] and 170 to placebo plus optimised background regimen
[placebo group]) and formed the safety analysis population. 327 patients were culture-positive for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis at baseline and comprised the efficacy analysis population (226 in the delamanid group and 101 in the
placebo group). Median time to sputum culture conversion did not differ between the two groups (p=0·0562; modified Peto-Peto), with 51 days (IQR 29-98) in the delamanid group and 57 days (43-85) in the placebo group; the hazard ratio was 1·17 (95% CI 0·91-1·51, p=0·2157). 501 (98·0%) of 511 patients had at least one treatment-emergent adverse event. 136 (26·6%) of 511 patients had at least one
serious treatment-emergent adverse event; the incidence was similar between treatment groups (89 [26·1%] of 341 patients for delamanid and 47 [27·6%] of 170 for placebo). Deaths related to treatment-emergent adverse events were similar between groups (15 [4·4%] of 341 for delamanid and six [3·5%] of 170 for placebo). No deaths were considered to be related to delamanid.
INTERPRETATION: The reduction in median time to sputum culture conversion over 6 months was not significant in the primary analysis. Delamanid was well tolerated with a highly characterised safety profile. Further evaluation of delamanid is needed to determine its role in a rapidly evolving standard of care.
FUNDING: Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

This article is not available for open access.

6. Compassionate use of delamanid in combination with bedaquiline for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
Eur Respir J. 2019 Jan 10;53(1). pii: 1801154. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01154-2018. Print 2019 Jan. Hafkin J, Hittel N, Martin A, Gupta R.

SUMMARY: Updated data from the Otsuka compassionate use program show that regimens combining delamanid and bedaquiline appear effective in MDR-TB cases with limited treatment options.This article is available here