NEW YORK – Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) on Wednesday announced an award of almost €6 million ($6.7 million) from Netherlands-based European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) for a new project called TB-CAPT.
FIND said that the project aims to generate evidence to inform the implementation of tuberculosis and TB/HIV co-infection diagnostic strategies, including drug-susceptibility testing at the point of care. Clinical investigators will run a series of clinical trials in intended settings of use in Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa.
A FIND-led consortium that is implementing the project convened formally for the first time on Nov. 1, 2019 during the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, India.
The group includes African Society for Laboratory Medicine, Ethiopia; Fundacao Manhica, Mozambique; Fundación Privada Instituto de Salud Global Barcelona, Spain; Ifakara Health Institute Trust, Tanzania; Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Mozambique; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen, Germany; National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania; Ospedale San Raffaele, Italy; Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland; University of Cape Town, South Africa; and Wits Health Consortium, South Africa.
In 2018, 10 million people fell ill and 1.5 million died from TB, including 251,000 people co-infected with HIV. Around 3 million of these people were "missing" from national health systems because they did not access healthcare or were not diagnosed, FIND said.
"Efforts to address the TB epidemic often stumble due to a lack of high-quality diagnostic tests that can be used at community levels or in remote areas," Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND, said in a statement. "The TB-CAPT consortium includes world-leading institutions that are perfectly placed to evaluate new technologies with the potential to close these gaps so that every person with TB can know their status and access the care they need."
In a TB-CAPT trial, investigators will evaluate the impact on participants of innovative diagnostic technologies versus current standards of care. They will look into the effects of expanding TB testing strategies for people living with HIV who also have TB.
FIND said that collected data will inform World Health Organization policy on POC testing strategies for TB and support planning for potential implementation and scale-up by participating ministries of health.
Further, the new trial aims to build capacity for implementing diagnostic trials that will serve to evaluate future diagnostic tests. The EDCTP project, with support from the European Union, is expected to run for 3.5 years, FIND said.