Scientific Highlights for Wednesday 21 October

Conference News 21 Oct 2020

On the second day of the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health, Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led a special session on the development of a vaccine for SARS-CoV2. The conference programme also featured well received news of developments regarding innovative tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics, preventive treatment for TB in adults and children, and progress towards a new TB vaccine. All these sessions are available for registered conference participants to watch on demand within the conference platform. The first open access Community Connect sessions took place, highlighting the urgency of a community-led response to TB and COVID-19.

Read more about these highlights below.

Special Session SARS-CoV2: The hope for a vaccine

In 2002 there was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which emerged from China and led to 8000 infections and almost 800 deaths. Ten years later, emerging from Saudi Arabia came Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) – like SARS, a pandemic, although again relatively easily contained.

Dr Fauci described in his presentation that the current SARS-CoV2 pandemic has “exploded on our world as the most extraordinary and impactful pandemic in the last 102 years, ever since the famous 1918 pandemic” with, at the time of writing, some 38 million cases and over one million deaths.

In this Special Session, Dr Fauci and co-presenters including Jeffrey Lazarus, Associate Professor at the University of Barcelona and Head of Health Systems at Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), explored the progress made towards a vaccine for SARS-CoV2.

Innovative TB diagnostics – Oral Abstract B1 A3

Correlation of high-sensitivity C-reaction Protein, Gene Xpert and urine LAM test for TB diagnosis in HIV+ Kenyan patients within DREAM program

TB has a high prevalence and mortality and is the leading cause of death in people living with HIV (PLHIV). The World Health Organization reports that in Kenya 40,000 people living with HIV were newly diagnosed with TB in 2018. This study evidenced insights into the improvement of TB diagnosis among PLHIV with HS-CRR, LF-LAM test, 4SS and Gene Xpert all evaluated.

Moving away from isoniazid for TB preventive treatment – Oral Abstract C1 B7

Safety of high-dose rifamycin for active and latent tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

There is growing interest in using rifamycins (rifampin, rifapentine, and rifabutin) at higher doses in TB treatment, but their safety and efficacy remain uncertain. During this oral abstract session, the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing evidence compared higher-dose rifamycins to standard-dose rifamycins.

SP 04 Advancing TB prevention in children during the COVID19 pandemic C4 C6

TB prevention is more important than ever and this session explored if better strategies need to be developed and applied to deliver proven interventions for child TB contact management (CCM), TB preventive treatment (TPT) and BCG vaccination to newborns in the context of COVID-19.

Towards new TB vaccines: progress and considerations for introduction A2 C1

A new TB vaccine that is safe, affordable and effective in providing protection against all forms of TB in adolescents and adults is critical for rapidly reducing disease incidence and mortality. This symposium saw current evidence around the full benefits new vaccines offer discussed, as well as venues needed to accelerate development and to facilitate programmatic implementation.

Community Connect: Activating a Human Rights Based Tuberculosis Response

Moderated by Blessina Kumar, CEO of the Global Coalition of TB Activists, this session focussed on how to bring a change at the policy level in adopting the HR policy and guidelines at country level.

All Community Connect sessions are available to watch on demand www.YouTube.com/TheUnionNGO

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