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 including:

Final STREAM Stage 1 results with implications for implementation

Clinical trial capacity building to address multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: challenges and the way forward

Importance of community engagement in the STREAM Clinical Trial at two sites in India

 The sessions touched on three key aspects of TREAT TB’s work:

  • Clinical research
  • Capacity building and
  • Community engagement
The 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, The Hague, The Netherlands. Photo shows Final STREAM Stage 1 results with implications for implementation Symposium. From Left to Right: Sarah Meredith, Francesca Conradie, Bazra Tsogt, Andrew Nunn, Bertie Squire, I D Rusen, Y Mukadi. Photo©The Union/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos
STREAM investigators answer questions from the audience about STREAM Stage 1 final results.

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 Counsel 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 the STREAM trial, 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 in MDR-TB clinical trials. They highlighted progress to date, current challenges and possible ways to improve capacity for conducting clinical trials, drawing on their experience with the STREAM Clinical Trial 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 (CABs) to ensure that communities and stakeholders understand the trial process and take ownership. CABs also act as a critical link between affected communities and trial staff, sharing community views on key implementation issues.

The 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health. 24-27 October 2018. The Hague, The Netherlands.   Copyright: Marcus Rose/The Union Photo shows: Improving dissemination of clinical trial results – experiences in TB and HIV clinical trials. Community space: panel discussion.
Participants fully engaged in with panelists regarding challenges and solutions for improved dissemination of clinical trial results.

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.