Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Partners In Health (PIH) and Interactive Research and Development (IRD), with funding from global health agency Unitaid are happy to announce that analysis of the endTB trial data is now underway.
The endTB trial was started to address the problem of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) treatments, which were long, ineffective and have terrible side effects. The study was performed to identify radically shorter (nine months), more tolerable and injection-free treatments for MDR-TB.
Over six years, the phase III randomised and internally controlled endTB trial recruited and followed 754 volunteers with MDR-TB or rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) in seven countries: Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Pakistan, Peru and South Africa.
The first endTB trial results will be presented at the Union World Conference on Lung Health, to be held from 15 to 18 November 2023 in Paris, France.
The endTB central team extends heartfelt gratitude to all endTB trial participants, to all the dedicated endTB trial staff at all participating sites, and to Unitaid for its sustained commitment to this endeavour.
This trial would not have been possible without the collaboration of global partners including Epicentre, Harvard Medical School, the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, the Global Tuberculosis Community Advisory Board, and MSF Logistique, as well as in-country partners including National TB Programmes, laboratories, civil society groups, ministries of health and other NGOs.
The endTB trial has had an undeniable impact on many people’s lives. Here are some stories and shared experiences from five of the endTB trial countries:
endTB stories from India
“We provide all necessary information to patients to help them understand the treatment better. Our role is to talk to them about the options available and ultimately it is their own decision if they want to receive a treatment which will go on for 18-24 months under national programme, or go for the shorter-course, all-oral regimen under endTB trials. Indu* opted to be enrolled in endTB clinical trials.” Sagar Kumar Patra, MSF endTB counsellor, Mumbai, India
“When I was offered the choice of participating in the trial, the only thing I knew was that I want to complete my treatment at earliest, without missing a single dose, and live a healthy life with my family. I am happy about the services that are offered to patients under endTB clinical trial. The team here treats you like a family member, where every procedure is explained very well. Everyone in the team provides utmost attention to the needs of the patients and offers them the necessary support.” Indu,* female participant in the endTB clinical trial, 34 years old, India
* Name has been changed
endTB stories from Kazakhstan
“The result after treatment in the project – ie full recovery – was very important to me. I was also interested that this is a short-term course of treatment for nine months. I think I made the right choice. I am very pleased with the outcome of the treatment. The result of the treatment met all my expectations. It was also important to me that moral and financial support were provided.” endTB clinical trial participant, Kazakhstan
“It’s difficult for me to describe all the feelings and emotions that I experienced while working in this clinical trial. I have gained huge experience in conducting clinical trials and the ability to work in a team with high-level specialists, which I believe will help me in my future professional activities. Our patients had the opportunity to halve the duration of treatment, which significantly reduced the use of a large number of drugs, reduced the number of adverse events and helped to effectively recover from tuberculosis.” Dr Amanzhan Abubakirov, endTB co-investigator, Kazakhstan
endTB stories from Lesotho
“When I was an MDR-TB patient at Botsabelo hospital under the clinical trial, I was well taken care of. The nurses were very helpful, took care of me and I didn’t feel alone. My nine-month treatment was way better than if I had taken treatment for two years and this makes me feel grateful.” Female participant in endTB clinical trial, 35 years old, Lesotho
“When doing clinical trials, it is paramount to go deeper into ethical issues because these are people’s lives. When introducing new drugs, they have to be administered correctly and everything that is done should benefit the patient. This reminded me of the professionalism as a nurse: lives matter and everyone matters. This forces you to improve patient care. The patients who were enrolled in the trial were mostly happy and this made me feel good about my profession. I cannot wait to see the results and what the Ministry of Health will do with them. Hopefully there will be research results utilisation. I thank PIH for this great opportunity and wish that there will be more studies on TB to inform the programme.” Sesomo Mohale, endTB clinical trial site study coordinator, Maseru, Lesotho
endTB stories from Pakistan
“As far as my life is concerned, I am lucky that your work and this treatment has saved my life. I know many patients come here for treatment and, although I don’t know much about their issues, I am very satisfied with my care. endTB is the best. All facilities are available to me, the staff is very kind, I am grateful. It would be good to offer such treatments even more attention so they can reach more people.” Male participant in endTB clinical trial, 64 years old, Pakistan
“Working on the trial gives me a great sense of accomplishment, not only due to the sheer size of the trial but also from the amount of patients that have been successfully cured. We have an immense responsibility to all our patients and, for posterity's sake, to ensure the success of the trial through the integrity of the data that we have collected, that we hope will contribute towards more robust evidence for MDR-TB treatment.” Mahnoor Arshad, internal monitor for endTB clinical trial, Pakistan
endTB stories from Peru
“For me it has been the best treatment I have received in all my life because I was in a poor health condition and treatment has been positive and harmonious, because I took all the treatment without missing one day and attended all evaluations. Today I feel a renewed person with many desires to move forward with my normal life. I must thank the organisation, doctors and staff that have given me the best treatment; I carry them in my life and I will not forget it. I call upon people and children – because this disease can attack anyone, child, elder – to follow and complete this treatment, so that they can have a normal life again.” Male participant in the endTB clinical trial, Peru
“For patients, [the trial] is important because it is an alternative that we can give them. They can receive treatment at their healthcare centres in their zone, but in endTB they have an alternative that they can take [treatment] in a shorter time. Because when the treatment for MDR-TB is long and they receive injectables, they often tend to abandon the treatment. Therefore, for patients it is important because the trial means they have another option.” Edith Sonco, supervisor of recruitment and retention team, endTB clinical trial, Peru