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TBnet news March 2023


TBnet Webinar


Today, Thursday, March 30th @16:00 – 17:00 CET comes a TBnet webinar on BPaL/M implementation: from research to real world.

Find out more about multi-country operation research experience and the treatment plan.


Below is the link to the webinar page:

 

Final call to apply to the TBnet Academy – the best TB training for you – application deadline - April 2nd


The TBnet Academy is an engaging training in clinical tuberculosis for young researchers and clinicians. On behalf of TBnet, it is traditionally coordinated by Prof Christoph Lange, the TBnet lead in education. The training covers several areas of tuberculosis management. Team-building activities and 20 travel grants are provided.


Follow the link for the application and see you in beautiful Riga!

 

“…finding solutions that work across & within health systems.” - the World TB Day blog by Jess Potter, the TBnet Advocacy Lead


On 24th March each year, healthcare workers, scientists and affected communities use the anniversary of Sir Robert Koch’s discovery of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB), to draw attention to the fight to end this curable infection. Progress has taken a significant knock back following the COVID-19 pandemic with global increases in both incidence and mortality. This year, the theme for World TB Day evokes hope - we have more diagnostic tools and less toxic treatment regimens that are shorter than ever before - “Yes. We Can End TB!”


This week I had the pleasure of attending a range of events designed to raise awareness about TB. Professor Madhu Pai gave the Steven Lawn Memorial Lecture on the know-do gap in TB. Paul Farmer once said, "Why, if effective chemotherapy exists, does TB remain a leading killer of young adults?" For me, this talk and Paul Farmer's statement rings the bells of implementation science - methods designed to understand and facilitate the uptake of evidence-based solutions in practice.


This is not to say implementation alone can fix all our problems: We have a 100-year old vaccine that is many many years out of date and in dire need of a service, or indeed an entirely new model. We heard at the World TB Day Symposium, run by University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine TB research centres, about the shift in understanding of the natural history of TB, people moving in and out of clinical syndromes, between infection and disease and the lack of tools to effectively predict who we can identify early in their illness and treat to prevent the spread of disease.

While we work on these important problems, much can be achieved by consolidating our knowledge - doing the things we know work and doing them well. For example, we know how to find and treat active TB but are our strategies, equitable, do they ensure those most at risk and most vulnerable are treated as well as others? There are new shorter regimens and all-oral regimens for MDR-TB but can the people who need them, access the drugs that the evidence tells us they should take?

Dr Jessica Potter reporting from London

While novel strategies to overcome problems of implementation can help, resource is a perennial issue. To combat this we need advocacy and political will. It was amazing to see this week the work of TB survivors in securing access to Bedaquiline by taking up a legal challenge on extending its patent. This may worry some people given the lack of access to drug sensitivity analysis tools in many places where bedaquiline is in use. I would argue to save lives we must use the tools we have now whilst doing what we can to ensure Bedaquiline's longevity with improved access to drug sensitivity testing. While the work of these TB survivors is amazing, I would ask us as a community of researchers and healthcare professionals what we did to support them? What can we be doing to ensure we use our own expertise and power to demand the things TB survivors tell us they need?


However, simply asking for more will not cut it. A new report from Campaigns in Global Health reminds us how, by aligning ourselves with other issues, we can gather resource that works by finding solutions that work across and within health systems. We need demands and strategies that tackle more than one problem at a time. When aligning our demands, it's particularly powerful to pick an issue that is at the forefront of everyone's concerns such as pandemic preparedness or one that has a huge impact in TB like Universal Health Coverage. Later this year the UN General Assembly will be holding the second ever High Level Meeting on TB and at the same time high level meetings on universal health coverage and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. Political engagement is vital if we are to gather the resources we need to get back on track to end TB.


As researchers and professionals it is our duty to use our platform alongside TB survivors to keep demanding resource both to discover new and better tools but also to apply what we know effectively. UK Academics & Professionals to End TB are one model on how to do organise political advococy within country and you can access our recent webinar here.


Closing the know-do gap by applying what we know and using our voices together to demand the resouces required: Yes. We can End TB!


Contributed by

Dr Jessica Potter MBBCh PhD

Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London

 

Electricity generator to a Ukrainian TB/HIV lab – a campaign by TBnet and INNOVA4TB reports raising 16 647 euro


A joint campaign by TBnet and INNOVA4TB has raised 16 647 euro for electricity generator to the regional diagnostic TB/HIV laboratory, Odessa, Ukraine.


The need for a powerful generator and power managing devices has been acute in recent months in Ukraine when the power outages became an everyday life. The regional laboratory of Odessa region has modern equipment for diagnostic of tuberculosis. However, all this equipment is powered by electricity and even a microscope cannot be operated without electricity.

The full name of the organization in Ukrainian is: КОМУНАЛЬНЕ НЕКОМЕРЦІЙНЕ ПІДПРИЄМСТВО ОДЕСЬКИЙ ОБЛАСНИЙ ЦЕНТР СОЦІАЛЬНО ЗНАЧУЩИХ ХВОРОБ ОДЕСЬКОЇ ОБЛАСНОЇ РАДИ (КНП ООЦСЗХ ООР). Now the funds have been transferred to the organization for managing the electricity situation created by the war.


The funds are donated by 78 donors through a fundraising platform – we are grateful to all TBnet and INNOVA4TB members who supported the fundraising. All donations – bigger and smaller ones - has helped to reach the goal!


Two SME companies involved in INNOVA4TB project strongly supported the campaign both with funds and encouraging words. Pavan Asalapuram, EMPE Diagnostics, Sweden commented on their donation: “we feel responsible to help each other since we are all fighting for a noble cause of controlling/eradicating tuberculosis.” Johannes Schöllhorn, GenID, Germany said simply: we are glad we can contribute.


The poster by Lambertus School supporting the generator fundraising

The Lambertus school, the Netherlands donated a large amount collected by the school kids through a fundraising marathon and send a poster with greetings.



We appreciate all the support from Liga Kuksa, the TBnet Chair, Jose Dominguez, the INNOVA4TB coordinator, Liga Rusmane, the TBnet admin, the ptbnet colleagues and the informative and good-looking campaign flyers by Raquel Villar Hernandez!


Contributed by

Olena Rzhepishevska, PhD, TBnet vice-chair

 

A call for TBnet country representatives in the WHO European Region – ongoing!


Dear colleagues – the TBnet is first of all a research NGO. TBnet country representatives are key colleagues for the network: they are the TBnet members who provide the nationwide data for the country they represent in the TBnet studies. Liga Kuksa, the TBnet Chair has been working towards updating the list of the TBnet country representatives. This is because in some areas of tuberculosis we still need active contributors to the proposed studies.


We are happy that many of you expressed interest to continue serving as a country representative and since the time we announced the call, more than 10 new candidates to country representatives have applied.


We are grateful for such an interest and remind you that the call for TBnet country representatives in the WHO European Region is ongoing – we still need our representatives in several countries.


Please confirm/or express the interest for your participation as country representatives for term 2023 – 2025 by mail to Liga Rusmane, TBnet admin: liga.r@tbnet.eu

In your mail:

  1. Please provide your affiliation and a short motivation statement.

  2. Include the area of your expertise where you prefer to serve as the TBnet country representative:

  • Either Diagnostic,

  • or Epidemiology,

  • or Treatment,

  • or Translational Research,

  • or a combination of the expertise areas above.

Those who never served as the country representative are also welcome to apply – there can be up to four country representative per country based on expertise area!

 

A call for TBnet project proposals


As much as country representatives are the motors of the TBnet studies, the teams generating ideas for the TBnet projects are vital to the TBnet research.

This is a short reminder that you can submit a TBnet project proposal after logging-in on our website: https://www.tbnet.eu/


When you are on the website, go to the section “Research” and chose “Submit proposal”. Do not hesitate to contact us if you lost your access to the website or have questions regarding the submission of your proposal!


This is where you find the Research section when you come to the page!


 

That was all news and updates for the month!

Olena Rzhepishevska, PhD, the TBnet News editor




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