Implications of the Current Tuberculosis Treatment Landscape for Future Regimen Change
Background: The current tuberculosis (TB) treatment landscape has been studied extensively, but researchers rarely consider how it creates challenges or opportunities for future regimen change.
Methods: In 166 stakeholder interviews in the TB high-burden countries (HBCs), we investigated areas of first-line TB treatment and control that would affect, and be affected by, a future TB regimen change. Responses were compared with existing standardized data.
Results: Public sector regimens are converging towards a single standard, which facilitates comparison with a single control arm from clinical trials. However, final product design is challenging if the goal is fixed-dose combinations and patient kits, whose current widespread use addresses continuing weaknesses in drug management. Any product must address broad groups, as relatively low levels of drug susceptibility testing (DST) do not allow for individualized therapy. Finally, the protection of new drugs from the development of resistance will be challenging, as the implementation of directly observed therapy and public-private mix programs is incomplete, and substantial private sectors have been identified as early adopters of these drugs.
Conclusions: Health systems for TB treatment and control must be improved not only to allow better implementation of current treatments but also to set the stage for implementation of new, improved TB regimens.