TB Alliance and UNITAID held a Satellite Symposium at the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health on 31 October 2014 to address critical questions related to the pediatric TB drug market, provide updates on the products in development, and discuss strategies to ensure uptake of the new treatments.
Cherise Scott (TB Alliance) and Malgosia Grzemska (WHO), highlighted the lack of information on the burden of disease for children, which discourages manufacturers to invest in such a small market.
Vijay Agarwal (Macleods) presented on the challenges associated with optimizing and delivering child-specific formulations of various TB treatment products, yet noted that progress is being made and that the originally projected STEP-TB launch of new pediatric products by 2016 remains on schedule.
Anneke Hesseling (Desmond Tutu) presented an overview of the pediatric TB drug pipeline, noting an increase in activity in the field.
Clemax Sant’ Anna (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) spoke on actions and processes to increase the detection of TB in children, focusing on testing, collection, and diagnostic strategies and systems.
The presentations demonstrate that despite all the challenges in childhood TB, many groups including WHO, Sentinel Group and UNITAID are working to end the neglect of children with TB. The STEP-TB project is expected to deliver child-friendly fixed-dose combinations of the current first-line TB treatments by early 2016.