The mission of the NDWG is to foster the development and evaluation of new diagnostics for tuberculosis (TB). To support this mission, the NDWG provides strategic direction and serves as a coordination, communication and advocacy platform for effective collaboration of all stakeholders in TB diagnostics research and development towards delivery of new TB tests.
Governance and Structure
The NDWG is currently co-chaired by Dr. Morten Ruhwald, Head of Tuberculosis, FIND, and Dr. Daniela Cirillo, Head of Emerging Pathogens Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan. The Secretariat is housed by FIND. A constituency-based Core Group with representation from various stakeholders provides strategic direction.
Four time-limited Task Forces are responsible for implementing targeted projects in support of priorities defined by the NDWG as part of the Global Plan to End TB 2018-2022:
- Build consensus and foster knowledge sharing to enable the identification of suitable biomarkers or biosignatures for TB point-of-care tests (Biomarkers for POCTs)
- Integration of next-generation sequencing and updated guidance to test developers on next-generation DST in alignment with new treatment guidelines and future drug regimens (NGS and next-generation DST)
- Foster development and evaluation of tests for progression of TBI to active disease (TBI and test of progression)
- Engaging TB communities in TB diagnostics R&D and implementation (Task Force on Community Engagement)
The NDWG was established in 2001 as a platform with focus on promoting the development and adoption of new and modified diagnostic tests. Since then, the Chairs, Core Group, Secretariat, and all the members of the NDWG have contributed significantly to the advances in the field of TB diagnostics. A large pipeline of promising tools has been established, a number of new products for case detection and drug susceptibility testing (DST) have undergone development and field trials and ultimately have been endorsed by WHO for roll-out in high-burden countries. Combined with extensive efforts to strengthen laboratory services and build testing capacity, the introduction of new, rapid diagnostic technologies, including for DST, and their integration into national control programmes have significantly contributed to improving the diagnosis of TB and the identification of drug resistance, thus supporting progress in disease management and control.
To facilitate coordination and collaboration across the diagnostics R&D landscape, the NDWG produced a scientific blueprint for the development of TB diagnostics, which provides a framework to guide development of new tools through the different phases of the value chain towards their delivery and implementation in high-endemic countries. The NDWG also contributed to the various editions of the Global Plan to Stop TB and was responsible for developing the strategic framework for new diagnostics.
More recently, the NDWG co-convened a stakeholder meeting to build consensus on the high-priority diagnostics required to reach global targets, as well as on the Target Product Profiles (TPPs) defining their performance and operational characteristics in order to respond to the needs of end-users and target populations. Two workshops organized by the NDWG in 2014 gathered stakeholders to promote collaboration around sequencing data sharing and advance research on the molecular basis of drug resistance to improve the management of TB patients. This initiative also led to the participation in the partnership to develop the Relational Sequencing TB Data Platform (ReSeqTB).