New York, USA: The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) has received a grant from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to support the advancement of the largest pipeline of potential new TB drugs. This one-year $2.5 million grant funds further development of urgently needed new TB treatments to combat the global epidemic, which is growing increasingly resistant to today’s available therapies. TB Alliance received this support as part of Australia’s first set of grants to fund new product development to treat diseases of poverty.
TB kills 1.4 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). South and East Asia account for greater than half the global burden of TB and eight countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) are among the 22 high-burden countries designated as focus countries by the WHO. Of particular concern, growing drug resistance and co-infection with HIV is complicating TB control in these regions.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous grant from AusAID, which will speed the availability of better, faster, and affordable TB treatments,” said Mel Spigelman, MD, President and CEO of TB Alliance. “This support is an investment in new TB treatments, and by extension, the long-term growth and well-being of communities.”
Today’s currently available therapies are inadequate to tackle the global TB pandemic. Complex regimens must be taken for six to months to 2 years or even longer. Long, demanding treatment schedules and side effects prove too much for many patients and the resulting erratic or inconsistent treatment can result in drug resistance, treatment failure, or death.
Over the past 10 years, the TB Alliance has developed with its partners the largest pipeline of TB drugs, including a new treatment that is currently completing the last round of testing before it could be introduced. Funding from Australia and others is necessary to bring these potential new regimens through these final stages of testing and to the people that need them.