UNITAID / CHILDREN TUBERCULOSIS TREATMENT

16-Nov-2023 00:02:32
A once-daily dose of a widely available medicine taken over six months cut a child’s risk of developing the most dangerous and difficult form of tuberculosis (TB) by more than half, according to results from a major clinical trial funded by Unitaid and led by Stellenbosch University. UNITAID
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STORY: UNITAID / CHILDREN TUBERCULOSIS TREATMENT
TRT: 02:31
SOURCE: UNITAID
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH


DATELINE: 15 NOVEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – BEAUTIFUL GATE, SOUTH AFRICA

1. Various shots, the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, staff and patients

15 NOVEMBER 2023 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Janet Ginnard, Director of Strategy, Unitaid:
“Two million children worldwide are estimated to be infected with a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. Without preventive care to clear the infection, many of them could develop multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, a particularly deadly and difficult to treat form of the disease, that poses serious risks to young children.”

FILE – BEAUTIFUL GATE, SOUTH AFRICA

3. Various shots, young girl is undergoing a routine examination by a doctor as part of the Benefit Kids project at the Beautiful Gate DTTC Clinical Research Site

15 NOVEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Janet Ginnard, Director of Strategy, Unitaid:
“The results of a Unitaid-funded clinical trial, led by researchers at Stellenbosch university shows that a six-month course of a single medicine can cut the risk of disease by more than half in children who have been exposed to tuberculosis.”

FILE – BEAUTIFUL GATE, SOUTH AFRICA

5. Various shots, a young boy is undergoing a routine examination and is given levoflaxin by a doctor as part of the TB-Champ clinical trial on MDR-TB prevention in children at the Beautiful Gate DTTC Clinical Research Site

15 NOVEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Janet Ginnard, Director of Strategy, Unitaid:
“Results from a second Unitaid-backed clinical trial may show promise in closing treatment gaps in populations such as children, pregnant women, and people with common co-morbidities who are not currently able to benefit from the shorter treatment regimens in use.”

FILE – LIMA, PERU

7. Med shot, pharmacist is manipulating bottles of medicine in a pharmacy run by Socios en Salud (Partners in Health) in Lima, Peru
8. Close up, bedaquiline, a medicine for tuberculosis. Bedaquiline is used in three of the endTB treatment regimens
9. Close up, clofazimine, a medicine for tuberculosis. Clofazamine is used in two of the endTB treatment regimens.
STORYLINE
A once-daily dose of a widely available medicine taken over six months cut a child’s risk of developing the most dangerous and difficult form of tuberculosis (TB) by more than half, according to results from a major clinical trial funded by Unitaid and led by Stellenbosch University, presented at the Union World Conference in Paris today (16 Nov).

The Unitaid-Stellenbosch team developed a fruit flavored, dispersible formulation of the key medicine in parallel and the product is already widely available in countries with high burdens of TB, meaning that the intervention could be quickly rolled out if recommended by health authorities.

Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a form of TB that does not respond to two or more of the drugs used in treatment. Because access to appropriate MDR-TB treatment is so limited, the disease continues to spread. Children are at particularly high risk, often becoming infected through close contact with an adult with the disease.

Each year, as many as two million children are exposed to MDR-TB and, without preventive treatment, are at risk of developing active disease.

Existing TB preventive treatments do not currently provide protection against drug-resistant strains of TB. This first of its kind research into children was presented alongside a similar intervention into adults. Both pieces of research are expected to guide a World Health Organization recommendation for MDR-TB prevention anticipated in the coming months. If the WHO issues a recommendation, it could be the first time in the history of TB that a child intervention is introduced at the same time as an adult treatment.  

The news comes alongside another major advance in MDR-TB treatment presented at the Union Conference. The endTB clinical trial revealed evidence to support the use of four new, improved regimens suitable for treating all people with drug-resistant TB – including children, pregnant women, and people with common comorbidities.

Funded by Unitaid and led by Partners in Health, Médecins Sans Frontières and Interactive Research and Development, the research could complement the currently recommended six-month treatment regimen for MDR-TB, which is highly effective but not suitable for all groups. 

Together, the two studies represent major advances in the treatment and prevention of MDR-TB. These additional therapeutic options should greatly reduce sickness and death in all people at risk of this most deadly form of TB.
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