Updated: Jun 24
Newsletter Issue n. 5 - May 2020
In the last few months it has been asked to each one of us to stay home and limit our activities and movements to what was strictly necessary. A great feeling of general slowdown made us witness, on the other hand, of the incredible and unstoppable mobilization to fight the novel coronavirus; the whole world redirected its energies - and funds - to the research on Covid-19, a disease that affected 213 countries and territories and killed almost 390,000 people so far. This is an impressive effort, that allows us to hope for ever better treatments and a vaccine soon, but it is also a cause for concern for all those who are fighting other infectious or neglected diseases. Tuberculosis is a very old disease, and yet an effective vaccine for adults doesn’t exist; it kills over 1.8 millions people worldwide every year. A recent modelling work (1) estimates that the disruption of TB services in multiple countries possibly caused a global reduction of 25% in expected TB detection for 3 months, potentially leading to a 13% increase in TB deaths. A huge step back to the levels of TB mortality that we had 5 years ago, and unfortunately this may even be a conservative estimate. Between 2020 and 2025 an additional 1.4 million TB deaths could be registered (2) as direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As WHO states, “health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained […] It is important that the progress made in TB prevention and care is not reversed by the COVID19 pandemic. Finding and treating people with TB remain the fundamental pillars of TB prevention and care and those would require maintained attention.”
Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, reminds us that "TB has been around for thousands of years. For 100 years we have had a vaccine and we have two or three potential vaccines in the pipeline.” As Strituvad consortium, we keep working hard on the in silico clinical trials of two candidate vaccines with the short-term goal to improve therapies for TB patients, and the largest vision for the future to eradicate TB once and for all.
The study is conducted in Eastern Europe and will evaluate the safety and immunological response of MDR-TB patients comparing the RUTI vaccinated... Keep Reading
During XXII SIMMAC, Prof Maria Alessandra Ragusa, from the Dept of Mathematics & Computer Science of the University of Catania (IT) held an invited talk titled “Developing in silico trials to fight Tuberculosis...Keep Reading
Strituvad, EMI-TB and TBVAC2020, three European consortia have led the innovation and development of vaccines against TB and have delivered an important contribution to the diversification and expansion of the global TB vaccine pipeline Read article
In silico trials: Verification, validation and uncertainty quantification of predictive models used in the regulatory evaluation of biomedical products Using guiding examples, we explore the definition of the context of use, the risk analysis for the definition of the acceptability thresholds, and the various steps of a comprehensive verification, validation and uncertainty quantification process, to conclude with considerations on the credibility of a prediction for a specific context of use...
Generation of digital patients for the simulation of tuberculosis with UISS-TB One of the most challenging task is to develop a methodology to reproduce biological diversity of the subjects that have to be simulated, i.e., provide an appropriate strategy for the generation of libraries of digital patients. This has been achieved through the the creation of the initial immune system repertoire in a stochastic way...
Evaluation of the efficacy of RUTI and ID93/GLA-SE vaccines in tuberculosis treatment: in silico trial through UISS-TB simulator EU - funded STriTuVaD project computational platform is able to predict the artificial immunity induced by RUTI and ID93/GLA-SE, two specific tuberculosis vaccines. Such an in silico trial will be validated through a phase 2b clinical trial. Moreover, STriTuVaD computational framework is able to inform of the reasons for failure...
2nd level Master on In Silico Trials - deadline for application postponed to Oct, 5th 2020
In Silico Trial to test COVID-19 candidate vaccines: a case study with UISS platform - G. Russo, M. Pennisi, M. Viceconti, F. Pappalardo, pre-print available
Regulatory guidelines for adoption of in silico models in drug development - VPHi leads a working group collaborating with EMA representatives and experts to identify the most appropriate tools for verifying and validating in silico models
7-9 Sept. 2020, ONLINE! International School on In Silico Trials
Due to the current situation, the school will be held completely online and fees are substantially reduced. Information and application here
16-19 Dec. 2020, Seoul, S.Korea
Focus on the application of computer methods and computational models for the modeling of the immune system function, along with their application in understanding the pathogenesis of specific diseases.