From 12th to 14th September, the 4th International Meeting of the Regional Prospective Observational Research on Tuberculosis (RePORT) was successfully held in Suzhou. The meeting was summoned by the United States’ National Institute of Health (NIH), the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (DAIDS, NIAID), co-organized by the Beijing Chest Hospital, the Innovation Alliance on Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Treatment (IATB), the Fifth People’s Hospital of Suzhou. More than 100 TB professionals and researchers representing RePORT consortiums of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa and China attended the meeting.
The opening ceremony was moderated by Mrs. Sudha Srinivasan, representing DAIDS and Mrs. Liu Yuhong, director of the TB Clinical Center of the China Disease Control (CDC). On behalf of the China host, Mr. Xu Shaofa, director of the Beijing Chest Hospital; Suzhou dignitaries from both the Fifth People’s Hospital as well as the local Health Commission bided warm welcomes to attendees from all corners of the world. On behalf of the RePORT international community, Mr. Hugh Auchincloss, deputy director of the NIH/NIAID; Mr. Carl Dieffenbach, director of the DAIDS expressed gratitude for the hospitality of their Chinese hosts.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Xu Shaofa pointed out that despite great progress being made in the past decades, China is still a high TB burden country and faces with many grave challenges in terms of controlling the epidemic. Realization of the ‘End TB’ prospect remains a distant target. As a project initiated to improve and facilitate TB related research capacities in developing countries, RePORT international has been acting as a valuable platform upon which in-depth collaboration among different countries is made possible. China since its induction into the RePORT international community in January 2017, has been working hard to embrace the resources provided by the platform and hopes to keep learning from all other RePORT consortiums, establish a great many more collaborations with our counterparts in the future.
Representing the main sponsor and organizer, Mr. Hugh Auchincloss and Mr. Carl Dieffenbach, senior figures of the NIH and the NIAID introduced the background, purpose, significance as well as the current progress of the RePORT project. The idea of a RePORT international consortium was first conceded in 2012 by the NIH, its founding purpose is to rallying countries together in the fight against TB by initiating cross-country collaborations, currently the consortium has included 6 countries so far. Aiming to improve the capacities in conducting TB-related clinical research in developing countries, the RePORT project establishes standardized specimen reservoirs across different sites, which can be utilized for future multi-centered clinical researches into validating TB-specific biomarkers, novel anti-TB drugs, regimens as well as new TB vaccines, and in doing so improving high TB burden countries’ capacities in conducting high quality clinical research, eventually contributing to the realization of the global ‘End TB’ efforts.
The meeting was consisted of open lectures as well as closed group discussion sessions. Some 20 TB experts and professionals from 6 participating countries have delivered their respective presentations in areas such as TB epidemiology, transmitting patterns, the latest in the development of new TB vaccines and new TB diagnostics, the management of data collected from TB-related clinical trials, other challenges and issues concerning realization of the ‘End TB’ strategy. At the end of each presentation, audience was afforded with a Q&A.
The RePORT international meeting has also provided the Chinese TB experts, professionals and researchers with a valuable opportunity to let their voices being heard around the world. Renowned indigenous TB expects, namely Prof. Liu Yuhong, director of the TB Clinical Center of the CDC; Prof. Zhang Hui, associate researcher at the China Center of Disease Control; Prof. Huang Hairong, director of the National Tuberculosis Clinical Laboratory at the BCH; Prof. Bi Lijun, director of the Foshan Bio-physics Research Institute, CSA; Prof. Gao Qian, School of Medicine, Fudan University have delivered their respective presentations on topics such as TB control in China, the latest of indigenous efforts in developing TB diagnostics, TB-related biology and translational medicine as well as the spread of MDR-TB in China to a global audience.
On the closing ceremony. On behalf of the hosts, Mr. Li Liang introduced RePORT China’s plan for the next phase of project implementation. He stressed that project case inclusion and specimen collection will be accelerated while standards regarding data and specimen quality are strictly observed. Mr. Li also expressed a hope that RePORT international consortium will facilitate more high quality research collaborations across its participating countries, so as to bring out the full potential of the standard specimen reservoirs being created.