Over 4,000 delegates from around the world attended The Union’s 49th World Conference on Lung Health and participated in a four-day scientific program of plenary sessions, symposia, panel discussions, and poster presentations.
This conference provided an excellent opportunity for international representatives of the TREAT TB project to share progress made, discuss best practices and lessons learned with global tuberculosis (TB) stakeholders.
TREAT TB hosted a number of sessions on clinical research, capacity building and community engagement including:
TREAT TB closed the conference by providing an update on the STREAM trial. The STREAM trial aims to generate evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of shorter, more tolerable MDR-TB regimens, while also improving local capacity to conduct clinical trials. Evidence generated by this trial has and will continue to contribute to development of international and national treatment guidelines. During TREAT TB’s final session of the conference, STREAM partners, including Vital Strategies, The Medical Research Council at University College London, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, discussed STREAM Stage 1 results and implications for the implementation of the shortened regimen. To read more about STREAM, click here.
TREAT TB’s session on capacity building for MDR-TB clinical trials provided the opportunity for experts to discuss the current landscape for TB clinical trials, focusing on key issues currently affecting clinical trial capacity. Speakers from around the world addressed topics ranging from supply chain management to mycobacteriology laboratory capacity to community engagement. They highlighted progress to date, current challenges and possible ways to improve capacity for conducting clinical trials, drawing on their experience with STREAM and other TB research ongoing in their countries. To read more about the capacity building work carried out by TREAT TB, click here.
A common message repeated in each of TREAT TB’s sessions, and the sentiment echoed in discussion with participants, was that community engagement is integral to the successful implementation of clinical research. Presenters and participants alike also agreed on the vital role played by community advisory boards to ensure that communities and stakeholders understand the trial process and take ownership. Community advisory boards also act as a critical link between affected communities and trial staff, sharing community views on key implementation issues.
During TREAT TB’s panel discussion on the dissemination of clinical trial results, Ezio Tavora Dos Santos Filho, the STREAM Community Engagement Coordinator from REDE-TB, discussed community engagement as a “mechanism of accountability” which ensures that trials and study teams are held accountable to governments, donors, and above all, trial participants. To read more about TREAT TB and STREAM’s work in community engagement, click here.
You can find more information on the Union’s 49th Conference on Lung Health here.
The STREAM clinical trial is being implemented by Vital Strategies and its affiliate, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). The trial represents a unique collaboration between USAID, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Vital Strategies and The Union, and aims to generate evidence regarding the effectiveness of shorter, more tolerable treatment regimens for MDR-TB.