Since the discovery of the first treatment for tuberculosis 75 years ago, the development of effective, well-tolerated and inexpensive therapy has been a public health priority. Over the past decade, an increasing number of multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis strain - i.e. bacteria that are little or no sensitive to conventional therapy - have been isolated.
Thanks to the collaboration with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), UNITE4TB will have access to the most innovative drugs developed in recent years and will be able to promote phase 2 clinical trials, also using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.
In this context, the Emerging Bacterial Pathogens and WHO collaboration center, led by Dr. Daniela Maria Cirillo, will coordinate the microbiology activities of the various universities involved, integrating the most advanced laboratory techniques for drug resistance determination. Furthermore, the group will manage the procedures for control, standardization and technical assistance in Countries with a high incidence of tuberculosis where the trials will be carried out.
"It is a historic moment for millions of people suffering from tuberculosis – Dr. Cirillo states - This grant will allow not only to evaluate new, less toxic drugs, but also to design therapeutic regimens shorter and easier to administer. In order to do so, we also need to expand our knowledge on the mechanisms of resistance to new molecules and to design assays capable of identifying them quickly."
The activities of this study aim to achieve the global goal of eradication of tuberculosis by 2030.