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TBnet Newsletter April 2021

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

1.) Reminder: TBnet Webinar in April today.

During Clinical TB Webinar, Thursday 29th April @ 16:00 (CET) the panel of experts and the audience will discuss a case of TB - the history of the disease and its management. After the case discussion, there will be a lecture on HIV/TB coinfection.

2.) Spring Scientific TBnet Meeting

Save the date!

27th May 2021

Virtual event

Keynote conference.Chaired by Lorenzo Guglielmetti

Four-month regimen non-inferiority study (Study 31)

Payam Nahid

Complete agenda is coming soon.

The meeting will be focused in the scientific activity of the network.

The most relevant results from the ongoing projects will be presented.

New proposals will be discussed. Please, do not hesitate to submit you proposals. The best proposals will be presented during the meeting.

The proposal form and more information about the submission can be found at the following link:

3.) XIII Annual All-Russian Congress on Infectious Diseases

Save the date!

May 25th 2021 TBnet will run an online TBnet symposium within

XIII Annual All-Russian Congress on Infectious Diseases, Moscow, Russian Federation

There symposium will be in English /Russian - simultaneous translation

Among co-organizers of the conference: Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation; National Scientific Society of Infectious Diseases; All-Russian Scientific & Practical Society of Epidemiologists, Microbiologists & Parasitologists; Federation of Pediatricians of the Commonwealth of Independent States

Interested to connect to symposium?

Russian speakers can register at the congress site:

English speakers can register by contacting Dr Anna Starshinova:

Deadline – May 23th

Fee – free of charge

Tuberculosis and COVID-19: Russian and European experiences

TBnet symposium

Part I - 08:30 - 10:10 CET

Chairs: Guglielmetti L, Starshinova A, Rzhepishevska O.

1. Pediatric tuberculosis and COVID-19: double trouble? F. Brinkmann (Bochum, Germany)

2. A potential protection of BCG vaccination against COVID-19, J.Domínguez (Barcelona, Spain)

3. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on tuberculosis clinical trials, L. Guglielmetti (Paris, France)

4. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on tuberculosis diagnostic services, I. Kontsevaya (Borstel, Germany)

5. Latvia's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic (report to be confirmed), L.Kuska (Riga, Latvia)

Part II - 10:30 - 12:10 CET

Chairs: Starshinova A., Domínguez J., Brinkmann F.

1. Tuberculosis and COVID-19: Problems of diagnosis & treatment, Starshinova A.A. (Sankt- Petersburg, Russia)

2. Pathology of lung lesions in COVID-19, Karev V.E. (Sankt- Petersburg, Russia)

3. BCG vaccination: lessons of history & importance of the problem, Dovgaluk I. (Sankt- Petersburg, Russia)

4. Experience of the anti-tuberculosis care system in Karelia Region in COVID-19 pandemic, Belyaeva E.N. (Petrozavodsk, Russia)

5. Stationary equivalent technologies in phthsiatrics: opportunities & perspectives in the context of the spread of COVID-19, Chuzhov A.L. (Sankt- Petersburg, Russia)

6. Tuberculosis and COVID-19: features of the management of tuberculosis patients (clinical case), Nazarenko M.M. (Sankt- Petersburg, Russia)

Contributed by Dr. Anna Starshinova, St.-Petersburg, Russia

4.) Update EACCTB

The program of this year's European Adcanced Course in Clinical TB (EACCTB) is currently in the finalizing phase and will be sent out in a separate mail this week.

5.) STAND results have been published

The STAND trial tested the novel three-drug regimen PaMZ (pretomanid, moxifloxacin and pyrazinamide) in both DS-TB and MDR-TB patients. The study was put on partial clinical hold in 2015 and enrollment was not resumed by TB Alliance because of the promising results of ongoing study at that time on BPaMZ.

The authors in the article concluded that PaMZ regimens did not achieve non-inferiority in this under-powered trial. An ongoing evaluation of pretomanid remains a priority. The paper is available as open access at the following link

Contributed by Dr. Ilaria Motta, Italy

6.) TB-PRACTECAL study

TB-PRACTECAL clinical trial, sponsored by MSF, has stopped randomising patients because of data which has indicated the trial regimen’s superior outcomes over existing regimens.

Full press release available at the following link:

Contributed by Dr. Ilaria Motta, Italy

7.) Community connect: medical reform, COVID-19 & a smaller tuberculosis hospital in Ukraine

Based on an interview with Mr. Vitalii Osetynskyy, a tuberculosis survivor, social worker and a winner of TBnet Photo Contest 2020

Background. With 25 379 notified cases of tuberculosis including 6051 laboratory-confirmed MDR-TB (2019), Ukraine is one of the most affected countries in Europe.

Much needed medical reform in Ukraine has actively started in tuberculosis care in 2020. The reasoning behind the reform has been that Ukrainian tuberculosis hospitals are often in a poor condition including a weak infection control. Funding scheme supporting hospital beds led to unnecessary lengthy hospital stay with risks of hospital re-/cross infection. The main steps of the reform are (i) the shift from in-patient to out-patient treatment and (ii) assigning treatment-associated state funding to a patient rather than to a hospital bed.

As a result of the reform, a number of smaller tuberculosis hospitals are closed or in process of closing with the plan that patients will be redirected to bigger central hospitals.

However, the reform coincided with the start of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns: a number of larger tuberculosis hospitals assumed the functions of COVID-fighting stations while the lockdown stalled transport links in and between the towns.

Now, one year in COVID pandemics, the number of tuberculosis cases registered (and being treated) in Ukraine dropped by 29.8% according to the public Health Service of Ukraine:

Vitalii Osytynskyy, who we know as a winner of TBnet Photo Contest 2020 is a pharmacist by education. For several years ago he has survived MDR-TB. Since then, Mr. Osetynskyy engaged in working with people affected by tuberculosis through NGOs, where he, together with colleagues, is developing and implementing the logistics for improving outpatient treatment adherence. He is based in Melitopol, a town/region with 200 000 inhabitants.

“Melitopol tuberculosis hospital, the only tuberculosis hospital in town, cooperates with charity NGOs in finding people with active tuberculosis. We visit places where homeless people sleep or work - crowded poorly ventilated premises. We ask for symptoms and send their samples for GeneXpert screening. However, many patients nowadays arrive to the hospital in a very poor condition with severe lung destruction and haemoptysis” – says Mr. Osetynsyy.

-What do you think it depends on?

“It can depend on delayed diagnosis. Sometimes people cannot even come to the hospital – they are just unable to do this. We try to organize the transportation for them. People affected by tuberculosis in our region hardly have any income – I would say, less than 100 dollars a month – and some of them have no income at all. In the hospital they have a chance to survive because they receive not only treatment but also food and the roof over the head.”

- Are you not supporting outpatient treatment?

“I do support the outpatient treatment! I work now mainly with outpatients. We treat at home everyone who has home and passed sputum /culture conversion. But we still have about 70 people right now who need to receive the treatment as inpatients.”

-Do you think it is reasonable to close the Melitopol tuberculosis hospital now during the COVID-19 epidemic?

“No, I do not find it reasonable at all. The hospital has been under the pressure of closing since the start of pandemics one year ago. This creates a huge stress for the patients and the staff –on the top with all the other obstacles created by COVID pandemics. If Melitopol hospital is closed, the patients will have to travel 130 km to the next hospital. This is unrealistic right now. Vulnerable groups of people are trapped between COVID-19 and tuberculosis – I am worried for their health and lives.” – says Mr. Osetynskyy.

Contributed by Dr. Olena Rzhepishevska, Umeå, Sweden

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