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International partnership to create global TB data-sharing platform

Recognizing an international need for a centralized, standardized data resource for globally diverse genomic and other clinically relevant tuberculosis data, the Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens (CPTR) initiative has begun development and implementation of a Rapid Drug Susceptibility Test (RDST) data-sharing platform in partnership with the Critical Path Institute (C-Path), FIND, the New Diagnostics Working Group (NDWG), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Under CPTR’s direction, data contributed from a variety of research, academic, and government bodies will be reviewed for quality in a transparent manner, standardized, and eventually made accessible to TB researchers and physicians.

Once populated with sequence information and relevant patient data, the RDST platform will be used to validate drug resistance-associated mutations and increase an understanding of clinical treatment resistance patterns. This resultant living list of mutations will then aid in the development of new diagnostic assays that can rapidly identify drug-resistant TB strains and ensure the appropriate use of TB drugs and drug regimens. In this way, the platform will directly influence and even affect change in the standard of care for TB patients, while accelerating the development of personalized treatment regimens that take into account resistance trends in specific locations.

“To create the kinds of tests essential to the effective deployment of novel tuberculosis treatments,” explains Martha Brumfield, Ph.D., C-Path’s President and CEO, “we need a singular data resource that encompasses global resistance trends and markers for resistance that come directly from patients with tuberculosis.”

“There are a great many different strains of tuberculosis, and diagnosing the specific strain and developing a treatment regimen is currently a time-consuming undertaking,” says Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme. “With this global partnership in place, a great need is being addressed by putting existing data from around the world to work in developing the fastest and best diagnostic tools to help the patients suffering from the scourge of tuberculosis – which remains an urgent public health threat that kills 1.5 million people each year.”

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