The World Health Organization is seeking experts to serve as members of the Technical Advisory Group on dosing of TB medicines for adults and children. This “Call for Experts” provides information about the advisory group, the expert profiles being sought, the process for experts to express interest, and the process of selection.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers and is a major cause of ill health and suffering. Until the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, TB was the top cause of death due to a single infectious agent. In 2021, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with TB, (including 1.15 million children) and 1.6 million people died of TB. Globally, the success rate for people treated for TB in 2020 was 86%. However, without treatment, the death rate from TB disease is high (about 50%). The burden of drug-resistant forms of TB is estimated to have increased between 2020 and 2021, with an estimated 450 000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) in 2021. Stopping TB infection from progressing to disease through the use of TB preventive treatment (TPT) is a critical and effective intervention to reduce TB incidence to the levels envisaged by WHO’s End TB Strategy.
Recent years have seen significant advances in scientific evidence generated on shorter regimens for both TB treatment and TB prevention. Results from several studies have informed WHO recommendations on regimens for drug-susceptible TB with a duration as short as 4 months and for regimens for MDR/RR-TB with a duration as short as 6 months, as well as TPT regimens with a duration down to 1 month. Access to shorter, simpler regimens is a key aspect to improve people-centred TB care.
To keep pace with these developments, WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme develops evidence-informed policy as new evidence becomes available. As many of the new policy recommendations on treatment and prevention are at the cutting edge of science, important practical questions remain related to implementation, which are beyond the scope of the WHO guideline development process, and which require additional evidence and critical evaluation from technical experts.
In parallel to new evidence being generated that informs WHO recommendations, several studies have been conducted or are ongoing to optimize TB medicine dosing strategies and drug delivery approaches among children and adults, given available formulations of TB medicines and considering particularly vulnerable populations, such as people with HIV and those with severe forms of extra-pulmonary TB.
In this context, a Technical Advisory Group on the dosing of TB medicines for adults and children, comprising experts on pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, as well as pharmacometricians, researchers, clinicians, including pediatricians, as well as people with experience in the programmatic management of TB in various settings, with the mandate and principles set out below, is being convened by WHO to advise on dosing issues related to TB medicines for all ages and for all indications, aligned to WHO recommendations.
Functions of the Technical Advisory Group on dosing of TB medicines for adults and children
- To provide an independent evaluation and advice to WHO on scientific and technical aspects of dosing of anti-tuberculosis medicines for children and adults with all forms of TB, aligned to WHO recommendations and based on the latest available scientific evidence with the aim to optimize the dosing of TB medicines and the operational guidance on their use by country programmes;
- To advise WHO on the new developments in the dosing and drug delivery approaches of medicines used in TB care.
Operations of the Technical Advisory Group on dosing of TB medicines for adults and children
The Technical Advisory Group shall normally meet once each year. However, WHO may convene additional meetings, when needed. Meetings may be held in person (at WHO headquarters in Geneva or another location, as determined by WHO) or virtually, via videoconference. Sessions dealing with advice to WHO shall be restricted to the members of the Technical Advisory Group and essential WHO Secretariat staff. Open sessions shall be convened for the sole purpose of the exchange of non-confidential information and views and may be attended by Observers. Membership in the Technical Advisory Group may be terminated at any time by WHO, if WHO’s interest so requires, or for any of the following reasons:
1. failure to attend two consecutive meetings of the Technical Advisory Group;
2. a conflict of interest incompatible with serving on the Technical Advisory Group; and
3. a lack of professionalism involving, for example, a breach of confidentiality.
For additional information about the operations of the Technical Advisory Group on dosing of TB medicines for adults and children, please see the Terms of Reference.
Who can express interest?
The Technical Advisory Group on dosing of TB medicines for adults and children will be multidisciplinary, with members who have a broad range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to optimizing TB medicine dosing in children and adults with TB or at risk of TB. Approximately 20 members may be selected.
WHO welcomes expressions of interest from:
Experts, from high and low TB-burden settings, with an excellent track record and expertise in one or more of the following areas as they relate to TB medicines and studies:
- Clinical pharmacology
- Clinical research
- Clinical medicine with experience in tuberculosis (including but not limited to infectious disease specialists, paediatricians and pulmonologists)
In addition, to ensure that the perspectives and needs of people with TB and communities are considered in any of the decisions made by this Technical Advisory Group, persons with a lived experience of TB or experience in civil society organisations and a strong record leading community activities on patient care and TB prevention or treatment are also invited to submit their applications in their personal/individual capacity and not as representatives of their institutions.
Submitting your expression of interest
To register your interest for consideration as a member of the Technical Advisory Group on dosing of TB medicines for adults and children, please submit the following documents by 14 July 2023, 23:59 CEST via the online application available here.
- A cover letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you satisfy the selection criteria. Please note that, if selected, membership will be in an individual capacity. Therefore, it is recommended that applicants do not use the letterhead or other identification of their employer.
- Your curriculum vitae (maximum 4 pages, including key publications in the technical areas relevant for the work of this TAG); and
- A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO Experts, available at here.
Please prepare the required documents and save them in PDF format. The online application allows you to save your responses and attachments, but make sure to return to complete it later and submit it. After submission, your expression of interest will be reviewed by WHO. Due to an expected high volume of interest, only selected individuals will be informed of the outcome of the selection process.
Important information about the selection processes and conditions of appointment
Members of WHO advisory groups (AGs) must be free of any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest. To this end, applicants are required to complete the WHO Declaration of Interests for WHO Experts, and the selection as a member of an AG is, among other things, dependent on WHO determining that there is no conflict of interest or that any identified conflicts could be appropriately managed (in addition to WHO’s evaluation of an applicant’s experience, expertise and motivation and other criteria).
All AG members will serve in their individual expert capacity and shall not represent any governments, any commercial industries or entities, any research, academic or civil society organizations, or any other bodies, entities, institutions or organizations. They are expected to fully comply with the Code of Conduct for WHO Experts. AG members will be expected to sign and return a completed confidentiality undertaking prior to the beginning of the first meeting.
At any point during the selection process, telephone interviews may be scheduled between an applicant and the WHO Secretariat to enable WHO to ask questions relating to the applicant’s experience and expertise and/or to assess whether the applicant meets the criteria for membership in the relevant AG.
The selection of members of the AGs will be made by WHO in its sole discretion, taking into account the following (non-exclusive) criteria: relevant technical expertise; experience in international and country policy work; communication skills; and ability to work constructively with people from different cultural backgrounds and orientations. The selection of AG members will also take account of the need for diverse perspectives from different regions, especially from low and middle-income countries, and for gender balance.
If selected by WHO, proposed members will be sent an invitation letter and a Memorandum of Agreement. Appointment as a member of an AG will be subject to the proposed member returning to WHO the countersigned copy of these two documents.
WHO reserves the right to accept or reject any expression of interest, to annul the open call process and reject all expressions of interest at any time without incurring any liability to the affected applicant or applicants and without any obligation to inform the affected applicant or applicants of the grounds for WHO’s action. WHO may also decide, at any time, not to proceed with the establishment of the AG, disband an existing TAG or modify the work of the AG.
WHO shall not in any way be obliged to reveal, or discuss with any applicant, how an expression of interest was assessed, or to provide any other information relating to the evaluation/selection process or to state the reasons for not choosing a member.
WHO may publish the names and a short biography of the selected individuals on the WHO internet.
AG members will not be remunerated for their services in relation to the AG or otherwise. Travel and accommodation expenses of AG members to participate in AG meetings will be covered by WHO in accordance with its applicable policies, rules and procedures.
The appointment will be limited in time as indicated in the letter of appointment.
If you have any questions about this “Call for Experts”, please write to GTBPCI@who.int well before the applicable deadline.
Deadline: 14 July 2023.