• Clinical perspectives on treatment of rifampicin-resistant/multidrug-resistant TB

      Cox, V; McKenna, L; Acquah, R; Reuter, A; Wasserman, S; Vambe, D; Ustero, P; Udwadia, Z; Trivino-Duran, L; Tommasi, M; et al. (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2020-11-01)
      Rapid diagnostics, newer drugs, repurposed medications, and shorter regimens have radically altered the landscape for treating rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). There are multiple ongoing clinical trials aiming to build a robust evidence base to guide RR/MDR-TB treatment, and both observational studies and programmatic data have contributed to advancing the treatment field. In December 2019, the WHO issued their second ‘Rapid Communication´ related to RR-TB management. This reiterated their prior recommendation that a majority of people with RR/MDR-TB receive all-oral treatment regimens, and now allow for specific shorter duration regimens to be used programmatically as well. Many TB programs need clinical advice as they seek to roll out such regimens in their specific setting. In this Perspective, we highlight our early experiences and lessons learned from working with National TB Programs, adult and pediatric clinicians and civil society, in optimizing treatment of RR/MDR-TB, using shorter, highly-effective, oral regimens for the majority of people with RR/MDR-TB.
    • Effect of bedaquiline on mortality in South African patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis: a retrospective cohort study

      Schnippel, K; Ndjeka, N; Maartens, G; Meintjes, G; Master, I; Ismail, N; Hughes, J; Ferreira, H; Padanilam, X; Romero, R; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-07-09)
      Addition of bedaquiline to treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis was associated with an increased risk of death in a phase 2b clinical trial, resulting in caution from WHO. Following a compassionate access programme and local regulatory approval, the South African National Tuberculosis Programme began widespread use of bedaquiline in March, 2015, especially among patients with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis for whom no other effective treatment options were available. We aimed to compare mortality in patients on standard regimens with that of patients on regimens including bedaquiline.
    • High treatment success rate for multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis using a bedaquiline-containing treatment regimen

      Ndjeka, N; Schnippel, K; Master, I; Meintjes, G; Maartens, G; Romero, R; Padanilam, X; Enwerem, M; Chotoo, S; Singh, N; et al. (European Respiratory Society, 2018-10-25)
      Background: South African patients with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis and resistance to fluoroquinolones and/or injectables (pre/XDR-TB) were granted access to bedaquiline through a Clinical Access Programme with strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.Methods: Pre/XDR-TB and XDR-TB patients were treated with 24 weeks bedaquiline within an optimised, individualised background regimen that could include levofloxacin, linezolid and clofazimine as needed.Results: 200 patients were enrolled: 87 (43.9%) with XDR-TB, 99 (49.3%) were female, median age 34 years (IQR 27, 42). 134 (67.0%) were living with HIV; median CD4+ 281 (IQR 130; 467) and all on antiretroviral therapy.16/200 patients (8.0%) did not complete 6 months of bedaquiline of which 8 were lost to follow up, 6 died, 1 stopped for side effects and 1 patient was diagnosed with drug-sensitive TB.146/200 (73.0%) patients had favourable outcomes: 139/200 were cured (69.5%) and 7 completed treatment (3.5%). 25 died (12.5%), were lost from treatment (10.0%), 9 had treatment failure (4.5%).22 adverse events were attributed to bedaquiline: including QTcF >500 ms (n=5), QTcF increase >50 ms from baseline (n=11), paroxysmal atrial flutter (n=1).Conclusion: Bedaquiline added to an optimised background regimen was associated with a high rate of successful treatment outcomes for this MDR-TB and XDR-TB cohort.
    • Implementing novel regimens for drug-resistant TB in South Africa: what can the world learn?

      Ndjeka, N; Hughes, J; Reuter, A; Conradie, F; Enwerem, M; Ferreira, H; Ismail, N; Kock, Y; Master, I; Meintjes, G; et al. (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2020-10-01)
      Worldwide uptake of new drugs in the treatment of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (RR-TB) has been extremely low. In June 2018, ahead of the release of the updated WHO guidelines for the management of RR-TB, South Africa announced that bedaquiline (BDQ) would be provided to virtually all RR-TB patients on shorter or longer regimens. South Africa has been the global leader in accessing BDQ for patients with RR-TB, who now represent 60% of the global BDQ cohort. The use of BDQ within a shorter modified regimen has generated the programmatic data underpinning the most recent change in WHO guidelines endorsing a shorter, injectable-free regimen. Progressive policies on access to new drugs have resulted in improved favourable outcomes and a reduction in mortality among RR-TB patients in South Africa. This supported global policy change. The strategies underpinning these bold actions include close collaboration between the South African National TB Programme and partners, introduction of new TB diagnostic tools in closely monitored conditions and the use of locally generated programmatic evidence to inform country policy changes. In this paper, we summarise a decade´s work that led to the bold decision to use a modified, short, injectable-free regimen with BDQ and linezolid under carefully monitored programmatic conditions.
    • Responding to SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa: what can we learn from drug-resistant tuberculosis?

      Ndjeka, N; Conradie, F; Meintjes, G; Reuter, A; Hughes, J; Padanilam, X; Ismail, N; Kock, Y; Master, I; Romero, R; et al. (European Respiratory Society, 2020-07-23)
      Rapid adoption of new diagnostic tools, parallel process of research and implementation, decentralisation of services, the use of personal protective equipment, as well as strong partnership and collaboration, could strengthen the fight against COVID-19
    • Treatment of Drug-resistant Tuberculosis with Bedaquiline in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: An Interim Cohort Analysis

      Ndjeka, N; Conradie, F; Schnippel, K; Hughes, J; Bantubani, N; Ferreira, H; Maartens, G; Mametja, D; Meintjes, G; Padanilam, X; et al. (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2015-08-01)
      South Africa has a large burden of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB); only 15% of XDR-TB patients have successful outcomes.