Rollins Faculty Guest Edit Special IJTLD Supplement Focused on Bedaquiline Use in Drug-Resistant TB Treatment

November 2, 2020

Rollins School of Public Health faculty members Kenneth G. Castro, MD, FIDSA, and Sarita Shah, MD, MPH, are guest editors on a special supplement to The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, released online today. The supplement features 10 peer-reviewed reports describing global experiences regarding Bedaquiline use as a treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in diverse country settings. Helen Cox, PhD, associate professor at the University of Cape Town, is also a guest editor of the supplement and a co-author, along with Castro and Shah, on an editorial included in the issue. 

Bedaquiline was approved in late 2012 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the first anti-TB drug approved by the FDA in more than 40 years—a gigantic milestone in TB management and care.

With the advent of Bedaquiline, practitioners are able to move away from injectable treatments needed for 18-24 months, making the administration of TB drugs easier. Despite this positive step, Castro stresses the need for continued research and development to identify and make readily available shorter treatment regimens for people with drug-resistant TB. “We cannot become complacent,” he says.

Though it is both preventable and treatable, TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death world-wide, and is a disease that is prevalent in every country and across all age groups. On a global scale, 10 million new TB cases are identified every year. Of those, half a million of the cases will be in individuals with rifampicin or multidrug-resistant forms of TB.

Articles in the supplement identify critical steps for successful implementation translation of research findings into practice when bringing a new drug to patients, such as the need to ensure:

  • Proper in-country licensing/registration of the new drug(s)
  • Country-specific guidance on the use of the new treatment regimens
  • Access to laboratory diagnostic capacity to readily identify people with drug-resistant TB who can benefit from the new intervention(s)
  • How to prioritize those who will gain the most benefit from the new intervention(s) in those settings with limited access to the new intervention
  • Sufficient country-specific drug supplies to ensure access to those in need of the new treatment regimen and prevent stock-outs
  • Establishing surveillance and management for drug-related side effects and to help identify rare, yet serious adverse reactions
The research reported in this special issue was made possible by the Bedaquiline donation program, a public-private partnership between USAID and Janssen Therapeutics of Johnson & Johnson to facilitate access to this new class of antibiotics for treatment of people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in various countries.