December 4, 2018 – NEW YORK – Though global funding for tuberculosis (TB) research is beginning to move in the right direction, it continues to fall significantly short of what is needed to fully realize the potential of transformative new TB drug regimens, vaccines and diagnostics currently under development.
According to the Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends 2005 – 2017 Report, released this week by Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Stop TB Partnership, global funding for TB research amounted to $772 million in 2017. While this marks the highpoint since TAG began tracking in 2005, it is more than $1.2 billion less than the funding needed each year to achieve global TB control goals.
TB remains the deadliest infectious disease in the world, killing an estimated 1.6 million people in 2017 alone. Full funding of the global TB research pipeline is critical to achieving the tremendous potential impact on the TB epidemic, saving and improving countless lives.
Earlier this year at the UN High-Level Meeting on TB, member states committed “to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing” for TB research “with the aim of increasing overall global investments to US$2 billion, in order to close the US$1.3 billion gap in funding annually.” All governments – including high-income countries, the BRICS, and other TB endemic countries - must follow through on this promise with meaningful contributions to fuel the scientific innovation needed to eliminate TB.
Simpler, shorter and safer treatments are needed for all forms of TB, as are improved rapid diagnostics and new, effective vaccines. All of these are now on the horizon. With true breakthroughs closer than ever, fully funding the global TB research portfolio is a moral imperative to ensure that impactful TB interventions are developed quickly and reach and benefit the millions around the world in need.