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From our March 2022 Newsletter

Surge of HIV, Tuberculosis, and COVID feared amid war in Ukraine

Adding to the brutal, immediate effects of Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian people are facing an onslaught of infectious diseases. Some threats — such as the spread of COVID-19 — are immediate, as people huddle in basements, subway stations and temporary shelters to protect themselves from bombardments. Without adequate water and sanitation, cases of diarrhoeal diseases are certain to rise. The risk of polio and measles outbreaks is high. And as health facilities and roads are reduced to rubble, access to diagnostic services and treatments for tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS is being interrupted, which will add to the already sky-high burden.

From our February 2022 Newsletter

Drug-resistant TB: Rollout of shorter regimen hits a snag in South Africa
The much-anticipated rollout of the shorter regimen to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) has failed to make inroads leaving patients stranded across the country. Having started in March last year, only about 70 patients have received treatment – which is only being administered in four provinces. The new oral regimen can treat drug-resistant TB within a period of six months, instead of the usual 18 months.

Possible new method identified to assess severity of TB infection
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered a molecule in the lungs of tuberculosis (TB) patients that reflects the levels of TB-causing bacteria in the lungs, information needed to better address the notoriously difficult to treat disease.

From our January 2022 Newsletter

Promising new target for tuberculosis treatment
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has an unexpected vulnerability that future drugs may be able to exploit, according to a study from researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine.


From our December 2021 Newsletter

Genomic signatures of pre-resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis 

Recent advances in bacterial whole-genome sequencing have resulted in a comprehensive catalog of antibiotic resistance genomic signatures in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. With a view to pre-empt the emergence of resistance, we hypothesized that pre-existing polymorphisms in susceptible genotypes (pre-resistance mutations) could increase the risk of becoming resistant in the future. We sequenced whole genomes from 3135 isolates sampled over a 17-year period. After reconstructing ancestral genomes on time-calibrated phylogenetic trees, we developed and applied a genome-wide survival analysis to determine the hazard of resistance acquisition. We demonstrate that M. tuberculosis lineage 2 has a higher risk of acquiring resistance than lineage 4, and estimate a higher hazard of rifampicin resistance evolution following isoniazid mono-resistance. Furthermore, we describe loci and genomic polymorphisms associated with a higher risk of resistance acquisition. Identifying markers of future antibiotic resistance could enable targeted therapy to prevent resistance emergence in M. tuberculosis and other pathogens.


From our November 2021 Newsletter

Assessment of epidemiological and genetic characteristics and clinical outcomes of resistance to bedaquiline in patients treated for rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study
On January 20th, 2021 RESIST-TB hosted a webinar to discuss updates on surveillance for resistance to new and repurposed drugs around the world. One of our speakers, Farzana Ismail, has now published their paper “Assessment of epidemiological and genetic characteristics and clinical outcomes of resistance to Bedaquiline in patients treated for rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study.”  Baseline bedaquiline resistance was seen in 3·8% of patients, while resistance developed during treatment in 16% of  patients. The article demonstrates the importance of surveillance for resistance to the new drugs.  

UNITE4TB: a new consortium for clinical drug and regimen development for TB.
After decades of limited progress, the development of novel anti-TB medicines was revitalised at the start of the 21st century through new initiatives and investments. This has resulted in innovations in treatment regimens thanks to new compounds becoming available and the re-purposing of existing drugs. However, progress has been relatively slow for a disease that, until the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, has remained the top infec- tious killer worldwide. Accelerated action is there- fore necessary to reach the ambitious target of ‘‘ending TB’’ set by the WHO within its new Global Strategy (2016–2030).

Global individual patient data platform for drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment 
In order to increase the knowledge base  for normative guidance on optimal treatment modalities for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), WHO is  announcing a publicly accessible global individual patient data (IPD) platform for drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment (DR-TB-IPD). This will be a secure but accessible platform containing outcomes of over 10,000 drug-resistant TB patients as the starting point and expanding this with data received in response to a recent public call for data.

South Africa sets another example of success in beating tuberculosis
During the Union’s 52nd World Conference on Lung Health in late October, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced the results of TB-PRACTEAL, the first multi-country randomized controlled clinical trial to report on the efficacy and safety of a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment. Time has shown that MDR-TB is a very difficult form of tuberculosis to treat, requiring multidrug therapies to be administered over a period of nine to 24 months.

From our October 2021 Newsletter

EndTB clinical trial for multidrug-resistant TB completes enrollment
Hundreds of patient volunteers from four continents have enrolled in a trial that aims to find safer, shorter, and effective treatments for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), an airborne, infectious disease that has grown resistant to standard medications. A group of scientists and clinicians led by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Partners In Health (PIH) and Interactive Research and Development (IRD) make up the endTB consortium conducting the groundbreaking study funded by Unitaid.

Largest ever global study of tuberculosis identifies genetic causes of drug resistance
Using cutting-edge genomic sequencing techniques, researchers at the University of Oxford have identified almost all the genomic variation that gives people resistance to 13 of the most common tuberculosis (TB) drug treatments.

Clinical trial results offer hope to DR-TB patients with short, effective treatment
TB-PRACTECAL, a clinical trial led by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has found that a new, all-oral, six-month treatment regimen is safer and more effective at treating rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (RR-TB) than the current accepted standard of care. These results signal the start of a new chapter for people with drug-resistant (DR)-TB, who currently face lengthy treatment regimens.

From our September 2021 Newsletter

How COVID is derailing the fight against HIV, TB, and Malaria
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a “devastating” impact on the fight against other deadly infectious diseases, according to a report that compares 2019 and 2020 data on HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in more than 100 low- and lower-middle-income countries.

Innovative tools take aim at antibiotic-resistant microbes
Diagnostics that rely on bacterial movements, genomics and machine learning could help to address a global crisis.

Fighting tuberculosis with medication, mental health, and social support 
In Zhytomyr, Ukraine, our teams works with the Regional TB Dispensary to treat patients who have drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (DR-TB). They are treated with a short course of DR-TB medication and the possibility of being treated at home most of the time; meaning patients can get back to their lives, families and careers sooner. Yet, completing the new treatments can still be tough.


From our August 2021 Newsletter


No News This Month!

From our July 2021 Newsletter

New Trial Results Show Effectiveness of BPaL Regimen for Highly Drug- Resistant TB Can Be Maintained with Reduced Dosing of Linezolid

The results of ZeNix, a Phase 3 clinical trial that took place in 11 sites across Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and South Africa, revealed that the BPaL treatment remains effective against highly drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) with either reduced dosage or duration of the linezolid component of the regimen.1Simultaneously, with the maintenance of efficacy, there was a decrease in linezolid associated side effects.

From our June 2021 Newsletter

Shorter treatment regime found to be effective for treating drug-susceptible TB.
A research team led by a Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) investigator reports in the May 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that a four-month treatment regimen using rifapentine is effective for treating TB. Shortening the treatment duration is an important step toward increased patient adherence.

Low-Dose Amikacin as Alternative Treatment for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis
Low-dose amikacin with appropriate dose adjustment based on adequate monitoring demonstrated limited toxicity with positive outcomes as a treatment option for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), according to the findings of a retrospective cohort study published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

WHO releases new global lists of high-burden countries for TB, HIV-associated TB and drug-resistant TB.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today released updated global lists of high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB), HIV-associated TB and multidrug/rifampicin-resistant TB (MDR/RR-TB). The new lists are for 2021–2025 and replace those previously used between 2016 and 2020.

From our May 2021 Newsletter

 Tailor-made therapy of multi-resistant tuberculosis
The successful treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis requires clarification in advance as to which antibiotics the pathogens are resistant to. Classic testing in the laboratory is very time-consuming and delays the start of therapy. Researchers from the Research Center Borstel, the Leibniz Lung Center, and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have now prepared a catalogue of all mutations in the genome of tuberculosis bacteria and on the basis of a genome sequencing can quickly and cheaply predict which medicines are most effective for tuberculosis treatment. 


From our April 2021 Newsletter

Drug-Resistant TB Trial Stopped Early After Successful Results 

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) announced early closure of its phase 2/3 trial of a 6 month multidrug regimen for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) because an independent data safety and monitoring board (DSMB) determined that the drug combination in the study regimen was superior to current therapy, according to a press release.

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