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250,000 patients to benefit from free access to short-course TB prevention treatment
03/24/2023 06:46 in News Update

The Unitaid-funded IMPAACT4TB Consortium, led by the Aurum Institute, announced that it will provide 250,000 patient courses of short course rifapentine-based preventive treatment regimens to seven countries to help prevent tuberculosis (TB). The patient courses will include the three-month 3HP regimen, and the even shorter 1HP, that is only taken for 28 days. This contribution is part of the Consortium’s ongoing efforts to end TB and improve global health outcomes. 

The seven countries set to benefit from this initiative are Brazil, Haiti, India, the Maldives, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. This supply of rifapentine-based preventive treatment regimens is expected to contribute significantly to the global effort to reduce the incidence of TB, which continues to be a major public health challenge worldwide. 

Prof Gavin Churchyard, CEO of Aurum Institute and the principal investigator of the IMPAACT4TB project said that despite commitments to end tuberculosis as a global epidemic by 2030, the disease remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing around 4,400 people every day and TB prevention is a cornerstone of any effort to eliminate TB which they hope that these 250,000 patient courses will contribute to countries’ efforts to finally make TB a disease of the past.

About one quarter of the world’s population is infected with a form of TB that causes no symptoms and is not contagious. Without treatment, 5% to 10% of those infected will develop active TB, which causes severe illness and can be transmitted from person to person through the air. TB preventive treatment regimens lower the risk of progression to TB in people at risk, including children, pregnant women and people living with HIV.  

In recent years, new and shorter rifapentine-based TB preventive treatment regimens have been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are becoming increasingly available. Currently, over four million patient courses are being manufactured annually. 

Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid said that the seven countries receiving these regimens have expressed their readiness not only to identify underserved and at-risk populations and ensure they receive these newer regimens, but also to invest in strengthening systems around contact tracing and learning lessons on how to improve TB preventive treatment uptake and coverage.  

In addition to providing the patient courses, the IMPAACT4TB Consortium will also provide technical assistance to countries in their implementation efforts, including identifying populations that could benefit from TB prevention, and determining the most appropriate regimen for them. The project actively advocates for universal access to TB prevention tools through their #RightToPreventTB campaign to raise awareness within communities about effective prevention regimens. 

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