New DR-TB Drugs: Unitaid has announced a call for proposals aimed at maximizing the number of people cured from drug-resistant TB by supporting the introduction and scale-up of new treatment regimens. The goal is to provide quality care that takes into account people-centered approaches, community-driven demand creation, and innovative case-finding. The interventions should promote practices to optimize access while deterring antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The TB Burden
In 2021, the burden of TB reached an estimated 10.6 million cases, with an increase in incidence and mortality rates for the first time in 20 years. The burden of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) has also increased, with 450,000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB. Despite the introduction of new drugs like bedaquiline and delamanid, equitable access to the best available DR-TB treatments is still suboptimal. Mortality remains high, with 191,000 deaths in 2021.
The Impact of the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on TB, decreasing case detection and reducing the number of people on treatment. TB continues to be a significant contributor to the crisis in antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
New and Pipeline Regimens
Newly recommended and pipeline regimens, such as BPaL/M, could fundamentally change DR-TB care. BPaL/M is a recommended regimen that cuts treatment time by 50%. Other pipeline regimens include those investigated in Unitaid’s endTB project, with anticipated evidence to be published in 2023. These regimens could provide better alternatives for individuals ineligible for BPaL/M. Key drugs in these regimens include bedaquiline, pretomanid, and delamanid.
Call to Action
To encourage rapid uptake of these new regimens, WHO has issued a Call to Action. Many high-burden country governments and global health partners are already advancing towards programmatic roll-out of these regimens.
Unitaid and other global health and development partners are actively engaging and coordinating on strategies to ensure timely and broad access to these shorter and better regimens. Unitaid-funded work includes driving TB detection to primary and community levels, integrating digital technologies and adherence support into TB programs, optimizing drug-resistant treatment for children, and market shaping to support affordable and timely supply.
Call for Proposals
Under this call, Unitaid is soliciting proposals to accelerate and expand access to BPaL/M and other shorter regimens in the pipeline. The focus is on driving demand and expanding access to the maximum number of people with DR-TB. Proposals should include multi-country and regional product introduction and implementation support, with consideration of the burden of TB in LMICs.
The ultimate goal is to create conditions for the best health outcomes by enabling people-centered and community-driven approaches to find and provide quality care to more people. Unitaid recognizes the importance of civil society leadership and meaningful engagement with communities in responsible demand creation and the responsible use of new drugs and regimens.
Last date 10 January 2024.
For more details visit Accelerate and promote responsible introduction of new DR-TB drugs and regimens – Unitaid