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Scientific Highlights: Friday 1 November

01 Nov 2019

On the second day of scientific sessions at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, results from a delamanid trial, a TITI child tuberculosis (TB) study and a study on screening diabetics for TB were revealed, and a new treatment for extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) was shown to be three times more successful than standard treatment.

Read more about these highlights below.


Final treatment outcomes for the treatment of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis using delamanid in a high HIV burden setting in South Africa

A new study suggests that the use of delamanid in the treatment of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (RR-TB) is both safe and effective in the majority of patients.

Patients who started RR-TB treatment regimens containing delamanid were studied from February 2015 – March 2018 in Khayelitsha, South Africa, with over half (54 percent) of patients treated successfully.

The study, however, also revealed poorer treatment outcomes among HIV-positive patients and those patients who were lost to follow up, suggesting that broader and earlier use of new drugs and innovative psychosocial interventions are needed to increase the chance to cure RR-TB patients.

In the 2018 the World Health Organization classified delamanid for use in the treatment of RR-TB but said that more evidence regarding its use was needed.


Efficacy of therapeutic dendritic cells vaccine treatment in patients with extensively drug resistant lung tuberculosis in the follow-up period

A new treatment for XDR-TB has almost a three times higher success rate than current standard treatments a new study has shown.

The use of therapeutic dendritic cells vaccine was effective in 77 percent of cases. WHO statistics in 2017 showed efficacy of XDR-TB treatment at 28 percent.

Finding new treatments for XDR-TB remain a constant challenge in the battle to end TB.


Diabetes and tuberculosis – partners in crime

Robust screening of diabetics for TB is imperative a new study in India has concluded.

The study examined 1592 patients with TB and revealed poor treatment outcomes of TB in 28 percent of diabetics compared to 10 percent non-diabetics.

Diabetes mellitus increases the risk of TB by two–three times as well as the risk of adverse TB treatment outcomes.

India is a high TB burden country along with an increased prevalence of diabetes in its population. The study analysed the diagnostic profile and treatment outcomes of TB in diabetics as compared to that in non-diabetics.


 Preventing tuberculosis in contact children with three-month rifampicin-isoniazid and 6-month isoniazid preventive therapy in four African countries

Children living with family members who have TB are still not receiving access to preventative medicines despite a study in four African countries showing that they do well on a short course of treatment.

The TITI study looked at the effectiveness of contact investigation and preventative treatment with both standard and shorter regimens for children in routine programmatic conditions in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Central African Republic. Nearly 2000 children were enrolled on the study and 93.3 percent completed treatment which was well tolerated and effective for preventing active TB.

Another important finding from the study was that home visits are key to registering and clinically evaluating children in contact with TB.

Despite evidence-based recommendations, contact investigation is poorly implemented in many low-income settings and less than 25 percent of eligible children are estimated to access TB preventative therapy worldwide.

 Note: Summaries are based on abstracts – final data presented at the conference may change


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