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November 2017

News and events from the Centre this month

Thanks to everyone who contributed to content for this month’s newsletter.

Inside this month’s TB Centre Newsletter: 

1. Save the date | World TB Day & Steve Lawn Memorial lecture
2. Seminars
3. News | Welcome new student representatives
4. News | WHO Compendium
5. News | First WHO Global Ministerial Conference
6. MOOC Tuberculosis | Launched by Institut Pasteur
7. Webinar | Resist-TB
8. Publication | TB perspective editorial
9. Publication | TB supplement
10. Jobs | Researcher vacancies

Save the Date 

Steve Lawn Memorial Lecture – 22 March 2018

The TB Centre will be hosting the second series of lecture, to be presented by Professor Liz Corbett, organised in honour of the life and work of Stephen Lawn. Steve was Professor of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the School and an active member of the TB Centre, and worked closely with the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he was based from 2005 to 2012. Information about the first memorial lecture can be found here.

This lecture will be held in the evening of Thursday 22 March 2018, around 5:45 pm. We will release more details for next year’s lecture soon so keep checking back with us, but please save the date in the meantime.

World TB Day Symposium – 23 March 2018

The TB Centre and UCL-TB are working towards next year’s World TB Day symposium, which will take place from around 9:30 am to 5:00 pm on Friday 23 March 2018 at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.Registration details and the programme for the day will be announced soon, but you can find previous recordings on our website.

We will also be releasing a call soon for a journal series for World TB Day 2018 – so watch this space!

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Upcoming Seminars


Andrea Zelmer & Helen Fletcher, LSHTM – Correlates of risk of TB disease and their back-translation into animal models
Wednesday 6 December, 12:30 pm (UK time); Lucas Room (LG81), Keppel Street

Riaz Memon, People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (Sindh) – Resuscitating primary health care services in Pakistan and integrating vertical (TB) programme service delivery
Thursday 7 December, 2:30 pm (UK time); Jerry Morris B, Tavistock place

Gavin Churchyard’s seminar on 13 December has been CANCELLED
Unfortunately, Gavin Churchyard is now unable to give his seminar on 13 December, and will present next term instead. 

Upcoming seminars 

News | Welcome to our New Student Representatives

The TB Centre is please to announce our two new student reps, Titus Divala  and Chathika Weerasuriya.Titus Divala is a physician from Malawi. His training goal is to become an excellent clinical trialist investigating interventions for infectious diseases, a major problem in Malawi. He has worked as an RCT investigator since 2011 and holds distinction MPH (University of Malawi) and MSc Epidemiology (University of Maryland). He plans to conduct a Randomised Controlled Trial investigating accuracy and unintended consequences of using a trial-of-antibiotics to exclude tuberculosis in patients with chronic cough. Trial of non-TB antibiotics is a part of TB diagnostic algorithms in most low-income countries but lacks evidence for diagnostic accuracy, impact on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and clinical outcomes. He is enrolled in IDE under Katherine Fielding and Liz Corbett.

Chathika Weerasuriya qualified from medical school in 2012 and worked in the NHS East Anglia region for 4 years, rotating within various Internal Medicine specialties. After obtaining Membership to the Royal College of Physicians in 2015, he undertook an MSc in Public Health (Health Economics) in 2016, and started his PhD in 2017. Chathika is currently looking into mathematical modelling to accelerate the development of TB vaccines in Richard White’s (TB Modelling) group.

We would like to express our thanks to Lisa Stockdale who was the TB Centre’s student rep before Titus and Chathika. Lisa was instrumental in organising and coordinating many events for the Centre, such as the TB Centre retreat and student-led seminars. Lisa took on the role with energy and passion, which showed in the presentations that she gave during the last retreat and World TB Day symposiums. Lisa is now writing up her PhD, and we wish her the best in the final part of her studies!

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News | WHO Compendium of TB Guidelines and Associated Standards

3 November 2017 | Geneva: The Global Tuberculosis Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) has released the “Compendium of WHO guidelines and associated standards” to support the delivery of care for all persons affected by tuberculosis (TB).Read the full WHO Newsflash here.

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News | First WHO Global Ministerial Conference “Ending TB in the sustainable development era: A multisectoral response” 16-17 November Moscow 
(By Helen Ayles)

The Moscow meeting was convened by WHO to accelerate political commitment in the fight to End TB and to inform the UN general Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on tuberculosis that will be held in 2018. It was fascinating, as an academic, to join this meeting which really marked a first in the world of TB, but was very far from our day to day reality of TB. The meeting was attended by over 1000 delegates with ministers from more than 100 countries, WHO director general and the deputy director of the United Nations. The key note speech was given  by President Putin, as you can imagine security was tight!The sessions focussed on the key outcome areas; Universal coverage of TB care and prevention; Ensuring sufficient and sustainable financing; Science research and innovation; Multisectoral accountability framework. Within these there was special focus on the problems of drug resistance, set in context within the global antimicrobial resistance agenda, a stepped up TB/HIV response and synergies with non-communicable diseases. Civil society and community groups were well represented and there were many heartfelt pleas to the politicians to do more to fight TB. In addition the petition “Step up for TB” was presented to the director general of WHO Dr Tedros.

Within the Science, research and innovations theme a policy paper was presented “Global Investments in Tuberculosis research and development: Past, present and future” which is a call to action for greater investment in all areas of research on TB. At the meeting two new initiatives were launched the Life Prize and also the BRICS initiative for those countries to self fund TB research. Whilst the discussions were stimulating and the rhetoric impressive, I was left wondering if the pledges will be fulfilled, and how we, as part of the global TB research community, can hold our politicians to account. It is clear that we will not End TB without much greater investment in research and development, including research into how to better deliver new innovations to those people who really need them.

WHO policy paper calls for increased investments in TB research to reach end TB targets

’28 November 2017 | Geneva: The World Health Organization released a policy paper during theFirst WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB on 17 November, highlighting the persistent investment gaps in  TB research and development, and the cost of inaction. The policy paper, “Global investments in Tuberculosis research and development: past, present and future” was developed together with various partners, academics, donors and civil society groups, and presented during the ministerial panel session on Science, Research and Innovation, where the Russian Federation also launched the newly established BRICS TB research network.’

Read the full WHO Newsflash here.

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MOOC Tuberculosis | New Free Online Course Launched by Institut Pasteur

This course covers a broad range of topics on TB, from the basics of the disease to the latest discoveries, including the clinical picture, epidemiology, pediatric TB, increased susceptibility caused by HIV, diabetes and genetic factors, the host immune response, vaccines, diagnosis, the rapid detection of drug resistance, Whole Genome Sequencing and the treatment of both susceptible and multi-drug resistant TB, highlighting the new short course MDR-TB treatment regimen.

The MOOC starts Jan 29, 2018. Find out more here.

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Webinar | Resist-TB

Resist-TB have two webinars coming up soon that may be of interest to TB Centre members:Thursday, December 14, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT for a presentation by Dr. I.D. Rusen, Director of Research and Development at the Union, on the STREAM MDR-TB Clinical Trial: Results of comparison of 9-Month Treatment Regimen to 20-24 month regimen.

Thursday, January 11, 13:00 – 14:00 GMT for a presentation by Dr. Dan Everitt, Vice President and Senior Medical Officer at TB Alliance, on New XDR-TB Regimens containing Pretomanid.

Find out more here.

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Publication | Measuring success: The challenge of social protection in helping eliminate tuberculosis

‘Household costs related to active drug-susceptible (DS) or drug-resistant (DR) tuberculosis (TB) disease include costs for consultations, transport to and from clinics, increased food needs and lost income. If these costs are greater than or equal to one-fifth (20%) of the household’s annual income, then the patient is at risk of unsuccessful TB treatment and these high costs are termed “catastrophic costs.”’The World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy prioritises preventing TB-affected households from facing catastrophic costs and proposes cash transfers as one way to achieve this. However, there are at least 2 approaches by which cash transfers could be provided to TB-affected households, and lack of available individual-level data sources has meant that no studies have compared these.

TB Centre PhD student, William Rudgard, recently published in PLOS Medicine on this topic and had his paper chosen for a perspective editorial by the journal. The paper, ‘Comparison of two cash transfer strategies to prevent catastrophic costs for poor tuberculosis-affected households in low- and middle-income countries: An economic modelling study‘ was also selected as a ‘Featured Research by the Editors of the PLOS Tuberculosis Channel‘.

Use the links above to find out more information.

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Publication | Towards Zero New TB Infections: Research Needs for Halting TB Transmission

new supplement has been published in Infectious Diseases, which contains a publication authored by several members of the TB Centre: Alison GrantKatherine Fielding and David Moore, titled, ‘Designing and Evaluating Interventions to Halt the Transmission of Tuberculosis‘.

The supplement focuses on TB transmission and should be of interest to many members of the TB Centre.

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Jobs | Researcher Role Vacancies 

The KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is looking for researchers for two positions. The application deadline is 4 December for both posts.Details are provided below:

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