Publications by authors named "Julian Te Riele"

8 Publications

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Effectiveness and cardiac safety of bedaquiline-based therapy for drug-resistant tuberculosis: a prospective cohort study.

Clin Infect Dis 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, and Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Bedaquiline improves treatment outcomes in patients with rifampin-resistant TB (RR-TB) but prolongs the QT-interval and carries a black-box warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The World Health Organization recommends that all patients with RR-TB receive a regimen containing bedaquiline, yet a phase 3 clinical trial demonstrating its cardiac safety has not been published.

Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study of RR-TB patients from 3 provinces in South Africa who received regimens containing bedaquiline. We performed rigorous cardiac monitoring, including electrocardiograms (ECGs) performed in triplicate at four time points during bedaquiline therapy. Participants were followed until the end of therapy or 24 months. Outcomes included final tuberculosis treatment outcome and QT-prolongation, defined as any QTcF>500 ms or an absolute change from baseline (△ QTcF) >60 ms.

Results: We enrolled 195 eligible participants, of whom 40% had extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB. Most participants (97%) received concurrent clofazimine. 74% of participants were cured or successfully completed treatment, and outcomes did not differ by HIV status. QTcF continued to increase throughout bedaquiline therapy, with a mean increase of 23.7 (SD 22.7) ms from baseline to month 6. Four participants experienced a QTcF>500 ms and 19 experienced a △QTcF>60 ms. Older age was independently associated with QT-prolongation. QT-prolongation was neither more common nor severe in participants receiving concurrent lopinavir-ritonavir.

Conclusions: Severe QT-prolongation was uncommon and did not require permanent discontinuation of either bedaquiline or clofazimine. Close QT-monitoring may be advisable in older patients.
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April 2021

Bacterial and host determinants of cough aerosol culture positivity in patients with drug-resistant versus drug-susceptible tuberculosis.

Nat Med 2020 09 29;26(9):1435-1443. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine and UCT Lung Institute & South African MRC/UCT Centre for the Study of Antimicrobial Resistance, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

A burgeoning epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) threatens to derail global control efforts. Although the mechanisms remain poorly clarified, drug-resistant strains are widely believed to be less infectious than drug-susceptible strains. Consequently, we hypothesized that lower proportions of patients with drug-resistant TB would have culturable Mycobacterium tuberculosis from respirable, cough-generated aerosols compared to patients with drug-susceptible TB, and that multiple factors, including mycobacterial genomic variation, would predict culturable cough aerosol production. We enumerated the colony forming units in aerosols (≤10 µm) from 452 patients with TB (227 with drug resistance), compared clinical characteristics, and performed mycobacterial whole-genome sequencing, dormancy phenotyping and drug-susceptibility analyses on M. tuberculosis from sputum. After considering treatment duration, we found that almost half of the patients with drug-resistant TB were cough aerosol culture-positive. Surprisingly, neither mycobacterial genomic variants, lineage, nor dormancy status predicted cough aerosol culture positivity. However, mycobacterial sputum bacillary load and clinical characteristics, including a lower symptom score and stronger cough, were strongly predictive, thereby supporting targeted transmission-limiting interventions. Effective treatment largely abrogated cough aerosol culture positivity; however, this was not always rapid. These data question current paradigms, inform public health strategies and suggest the need to redirect TB transmission-associated research efforts toward host-pathogen interactions.
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September 2020

Responding to SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa: what can we learn from drug-resistant tuberculosis?

Eur Respir J 2020 07 23;56(1). Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Dept of Medicine and Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa.

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July 2020

High treatment success rate for multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis using a bedaquiline-containing treatment regimen.

Eur Respir J 2018 12 20;52(6). Epub 2018 Dec 20.

University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, Johannesburg, South Africa.

South African patients with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and resistance to fluoroquinolones and/or injectable drugs (extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and preXDR-TB) were granted access to bedaquiline through a clinical access programme with strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.PreXDR-TB and XDR-TB patients were treated with 24 weeks of bedaquiline within an optimised, individualised background regimen that could include levofloxacin, linezolid and clofazimine as needed. 200 patients were enrolled: 87 (43.9%) had XDR-TB, 99 (49.3%) were female and the median age was 34 years (interquartile range (IQR) 27-42). 134 (67.0%) were living with HIV; the median CD4 count was 281 cells·μL (IQR 130-467) and all were on antiretroviral therapy.16 out of 200 patients (8.0%) did not complete 6 months of bedaquiline: eight were lost to follow-up, six died, one stopped owing to side effects and one was diagnosed with drug-sensitive TB. 146 out of 200 patients (73.0%) had favourable outcomes: 139 (69.5%) were cured and seven (3.5%) completed treatment. 25 patients (12.5%) died, 20 (10.0%) were lost from treatment and nine (4.5%) had treatment failure. 22 adverse events were attributed to bedaquiline, including a QT interval corrected using the Fridericia formula (QTcF) >500 ms (n=5), QTcF increase >50 ms from baseline (n=11) and paroxysmal atrial flutter (n=1).Bedaquiline added to an optimised background regimen was associated with a high rate of successful treatment outcomes for this preXDR-TB and XDR-TB cohort.
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December 2018

Effect of bedaquiline on mortality in South African patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis: a retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Respir Med 2018 09 11;6(9):699-706. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Right to Care, Johannesburg, South Africa; University of Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Background: Addition of bedaquiline to treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis was associated with an increased risk of death in a phase 2b clinical trial, resulting in caution from WHO. Following a compassionate access programme and local regulatory approval, the South African National Tuberculosis Programme began widespread use of bedaquiline in March, 2015, especially among patients with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis for whom no other effective treatment options were available. We aimed to compare mortality in patients on standard regimens with that of patients on regimens including bedaquiline.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we analysed patient data from the South African rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis case register (EDRweb), and identified additional mortality using the national vital statistics register. We excluded patients who started treatment before July 1, 2014, or after March 31, 2016; patients younger than 15 years or older than 75 years; patients without documented rifampicin resistance, and patients with pre-extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (multidrug-resistant tuberculosis with further resistance to a second-line injectable or fluoroquinolone). We compared all-cause mortality between patients who received bedaquiline in treatment regimens and those who did not. Patients who did not receive bedaquiline had kanamycin or capreomycin and moxifloxacin as core medicines in their regimen. We estimated hazard ratios for mortality separately for multidrug-resistant or rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and adjusted using propensity score quintile strata for the potential confounders of sex, age, HIV and antiretroviral therapy status, history of prior tuberculosis, valid identification number, and year and province of treatment.

Findings: 24 014 tuberculosis cases were registered in the EDRweb between July 1, 2014, and March 31, 2016. Of these, 19 617 patients initiated treatment and met our analysis eligibility criteria. A bedaquiline-containing regimen was given to 743 (4·0%) of 18 542 patients with multidrug-resistant or rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis and 273 (25·4%) of 1075 patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. Among 1016 patients who received bedaquiline, 128 deaths (12·6%) were reported, and there were 4612 deaths (24·8%) among 18 601 patients on the standard regimens. Bedaquiline was associated with a reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality for patients with multidrug-resistant or rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (hazard ratio [HR] 0·35, 95% CI 0·28-0·46) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (0·26, 0·18-0·38) compared with standard regimens.

Interpretation: Our retrospective cohort analysis of routinely reported data in the context of high HIV and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis prevalence showed that bedaquiline-based treatment regimens were associated with a large reduction in mortality in patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, compared with the standard regimen.

Funding: None.
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September 2018

Outcomes, infectiousness, and transmission dynamics of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and home-discharged patients with programmatically incurable tuberculosis: a prospective cohort study.

Lancet Respir Med 2017 04 19;5(4):269-281. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, SAMRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: The emergence of programmatically incurable tuberculosis threatens to destabilise control efforts. The aim of this study was to collect prospective patient-level data to inform treatment and containment strategies.

Methods: In a prospective cohort study, 273 South African patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or resistance beyond extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, were followed up over a period of 6 years. Transmission dynamics, infectiousness, and drug susceptibility were analysed in a subset of patients from the Western Cape using whole-genome sequencing (WGS; n=149), a cough aerosol sampling system (CASS; n=26), and phenotypic testing for 18 drugs (n=179).

Findings: Between Oct 1, 2008, and Oct 31, 2012, we enrolled and followed up 273 patients for a median of 20·3 months (IQR 9·6-27·8). 203 (74%) had programmatically incurable tuberculosis and unfavourable outcomes (treatment failure, relapse, default, or death despite treatment with a regimen based on capreomycin, aminosalicylic acid, or both). 172 (63%) patients were discharged home, of whom 104 (60%) had an unfavourable outcome. 54 (31%) home-discharged patients had failed treatment, with a median time to death after discharge of 9·9 months (IQR 4·2-17·4). 35 (20%) home-discharged cases were smear-positive at discharge. Using CASS, six (23%) of 26 home-discharged cases with data available expectorated infectious culture-positive cough aerosols in the respirable range (<5 μm), and most reported inter-person contact with suboptimal protective mask usage. WGS identified 17 (19%) of the 90 patients (with available sequence data) that were discharged home before the diagnosis of 20 downstream cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis with almost identical sequencing profiles suggestive of community-based transmission (five or fewer single nucleotide polymorphisms different and with identical resistance-encoding mutations for 14 drugs). 11 (55%) of these downstream cases had HIV co-infection and ten (50%) had died by the end of the study. 22 (56%) of 39 isolates in patients discharged home after treatment failure were resistant to eight or more drugs. However, five (16%) of 31 isolates were susceptible to rifabutin and more than 90% were likely to be sensitive to linezolid, bedaquiline, and delamanid.

Interpretation: More than half of the patients with programmatically incurable tuberculosis were discharged into the community where they remained for an average of 16 months, were at risk of expectorating infectious cough aerosols, and posed a threat of transmission of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. Urgent action, including appropriate containment strategies, is needed to address this situation. Access to delamanid, bedaquiline, linezolid, and rifabutin, when appropriate, must be accelerated along with comprehensive drug susceptibility testing.

Funding: UK Medical Research Council, South African Medical Research Council, South African National Research Foundation, European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, Oppenheimer Foundation, Newton Fund, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology.
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April 2017

Lifestyle, attitudes and needs of uncured XDR-TB patients living in the communities of South Africa: a qualitative study.

Trop Med Int Health 2015 Sep 18;20(9):1155-1161. Epub 2015 May 18.

Lung Infection and Immunity Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Objective: Patient-level data are required to inform strategies interrupting transmission and default in patients with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) to improve models of care and identify potential routes of transmission. We therefore explored the experiences, lifestyle, attitudes and needs of patients with uncured XDR-TB, who failed or interrupted therapy, living without treatment in the community.

Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with 12 community-based patients from South Africa. Family members were interviewed when patients were unavailable. Interviews were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.

Results: The thematic experiences identified from the interviews were as follows: (i) living with but not being cured of XDR-TB, (ii) altered lifestyle in the community, (iii) experiences with community health care, (iv) local community members, and (v) wants and needs. Patients identified mistrust in health care, futility of treatment regimens, a need for a purpose in life and subsistence as major concerns. Restriction of living in the community for patients whose treatment had failed resulted in self-imposed isolation. Defaulters focused more on the never-ending drug regimen and bad experiences with health care contributing to non-adherence. Family members emphasised an under-recognised experience of unforeseen burden, obligation, worry and discomfort. Lack of knowledge and lack of concern about transmission was evident.

Conclusion: Current models of care are not adequately meeting the needs of patients with uncured XDR-TB and relatives. These data inform the need for community-based palliative care, vocational facilities to improve economic opportunities, home-based infection control and improved psychosocial support to increase patient adherence, reduce transmission, provide income and relieve the burden on family members.
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September 2015

High frequency of resistance, lack of clinical benefit, and poor outcomes in capreomycin treated South African patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis.

PLoS One 2015 24;10(4):e0123655. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Lung Infection and Immunity Unit, Division of Pulmonology and University of Cape Town Lung Institute, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: There are limited data about the epidemiology and treatment-related outcomes associated with capreomycin resistance in patients with XDR-TB. Capreomycin achieves high serum concentrations relative to MIC but whether capreomycin has therapeutic benefit despite microbiological resistance remains unclear.

Methods: We reviewed the susceptibility profiles and outcomes associated with capreomycin usage in patients diagnosed with XDR-TB between August 2002 and October 2012 in two provinces of South Africa. Patients whose isolates were genotypically tested for capreomycin resistance were included in the analysis.

Results: Of 178 XDR-TB patients 41% were HIV-infected. 87% (154/178) isolates contained a capreomycin resistance-conferring mutation [80% (143/178) rrs A1401G and 6% (11/178) were heteroresistant (containing both the rrs A1401G mutation and wild-type sequences)]. Previous MDR-TB treatment, prior usage of kanamycin, or strain type was not associated with capreomycin resistance. 92% (163/178) of XDR-TB patients were empirically treated with capreomycin. Capreomycin resistance decreased the odds of sputum culture conversion. In capreomycin sensitive and resistant persons combined weight at diagnosis was the only independent predictor for survival (p=<0.001). By contrast, HIV status and use of co-amoxicillin/clavulanic acid were independent predictors of mortality (p=<0.05). Capreomycin usage was not associated with survival or culture conversion when the analysis was restricted to those whose isolates were resistant to capreomycin.

Conclusion: In South Africa the frequency of capreomycin conferring mutations was extremely high in XDR-TB isolates. In those with capreomycin resistance there appeared to be no therapeutic benefit of using capreomycin. These data inform susceptibility testing and the design of treatment regimens for XDR-TB in TB endemic settings.
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January 2016