The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently issued updated target regimen profiles for tuberculosis treatment alongside new target product profiles for monitoring and optimizing TB treatment. These pivotal documents outline crucial characteristics and requirements needed for developing improved TB treatment regimens and future tests for selecting appropriate TB treatments and monitoring their effectiveness.
Current TB Treatment Challenges
TB treatment regimens are lengthy, costly, and often associated with adverse effects, impacting adherence and outcomes. Despite global efforts, treatment success for drug-susceptible TB has plateaued at around 86%. Treatment success for multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant TB is merely 60%, showing slight improvement over the past decade. A high number of individuals with TB still face mortality, treatment failure, relapse, or treatment abandonment.
Urgent Need for Innovation
Addressing the urgent need for simpler, safer, and more effective treatment regimens accessible to all TB patients is critical. Additionally, advanced tests to aid in selecting and monitoring treatments are essential for overall treatment success. There’s a vital requirement for a more reliable test to identify relapse-free cures after TB treatment.
Target Regimen Profiles for Tuberculosis Treatment
The updated regimen profiles define key targets for rifampicin-susceptible TB, rifampicin-resistant TB, and the ideal characteristics of a pan-TB treatment regimen for all forms of the disease. These profiles highlight areas in urgent need of improvement in TB treatment regimens.
Target Product Profiles for TB Treatment Monitoring and Optimization
The new product profiles outline targets for tests aimed at monitoring treatment effectiveness and identifying cure, as well as testing strategies to potentially assist in the stratification of TB treatments based on the patient’s requirements. This document marks WHO’s first comprehensive publication on this subject.
Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme, emphasizes that these guidelines offer clear guidance for funders, developers, and researchers. They aim to ensure patient-centric care and facilitate the achievement of the global End TB targets. Kasaeva acknowledges the valuable contributions of experts, TB survivors, and various partners in the formulation of these essential documents.
The comprehensive guidelines outlined by WHO herald a path toward more effective and accessible TB treatments, aiming to transform the landscape of tuberculosis management for a brighter and healthier future.