CCGHE Joins 12-Country UNITAID Effort to Control TB

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In September, Geneva-based UN agency UNITAID approved a $59 million effort to improve uptake of measures to prevent and treat tuberculosis. The Indo-JHU Clinical Research Program in Pune, India, led by Drs. Amita Gupta (JHU), Aarti Kinikar (BJMC), Shashi Sangle (BJMC), and Vidya Mave (JHU), is partnering in this initiative with India’s Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT), Chennai, and National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune. India assumes the greatest burden of TB globally.

Increasing Market and Public Health Outcomes through Scaling Up Affordable Access Models of Short Course Preventive Therapy for TBAs, or IMPAACT4TB, is being led by Dr. Gavin Churchyard of the Aurum Institute in South Africa. The effort is focused on preventing people who have latent TB infection from developing active TB disease, and is targeting those at greatest risk, including children under 5 and people living with HIV. In addition to the Aurum Institute and JHU, partners include the Clinton Health Initiative, the Global Drug Facility-Stop TB Partnership, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, the Treatment Action Group; the effort will receive support from the World Health Organization.

As Dr. Richard Chaisson (JHU lead and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research) noted, “IMPAACT4TB, will support scale-up of a novel antibiotic regimen pioneered by Johns Hopkins investigators . . .  The four-year grant aims to ensure that people with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) – who are infected with the TB bacteria, but do not have symptoms – have access to the new, shorter and less toxic TB treatment using rifapentine and isoniazid for 12 weeks.”

Following a year of safety and drug-drug interaction evaluations, the multi-national consortium will provide the novel treatment to 400,000 people. “These are the patients we see every day, and we are eager to look at cutting edge therapeutic options that shorten the lengthy course of treatment” said Dr. Mave, BJGMC-JHU Clinical Research Site Director.  Dr. Amita Gupta concurred, “The Indo-JHU clinical research partnership participates in the world’s largest TB prevention efforts. IMPAACT4TB offers the hope of preventing progression of TB from a latent infection with no symptoms to a miserable and deadly disease.”