March 20, 2019 – Building a Tuberculosis Free World: The Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis, released today, outlines what is needed to end tuberculosis (TB): political will and funding, so that new prevention methods and treatments can be developed and made accessible to those who need them.
The Lancet Commission amplifies the message from last year’s United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, where member states issued a political declaration committing to close the TB funding gap.
“The Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis sets forth a forward-looking vision: ‘With targeted, proven strategies, smart investments based on sound science, accelerated research and development, and a shared responsibility, we can defeat tuberculosis within a generation.’” said Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of TB Alliance. “However, if this vision is to be achieved, we urgently need the political and financial commitments promised last year to come to fruition.”
The Commission report notes that the WHO’s End TB Strategy target of reducing TB mortality by 90% by 2030 will not be reachable without a substantial increase in global TB R&D investment, from $772 million per year in 2017 to at least $2 billion per year during the next four years. If these investments produced new tools, the return on investment of each dollar of investment could range from $16-82.
There are also great costs associated with a lack of investment; the report cites the example of India, where “even with optimal implementation of all existing tools, unavoidable TB deaths will cost the economy at least US$32 billion each year over the next 30 years.”
For drug-resistant forms of TB, this document stresses that the “burden and poor patient outcomes highlight the dire need for safe and effective, less toxic, shorter, and less costly treatment regimens.” With sustained support from donors and a global network of partners, TB Alliance is developing new treatments for all forms of TB that are intended to meet these criteria.
Building a Tuberculosis Free World: The Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis is an important moment to take stock of the milestones achieved in the fight against TB and to spur policymakers and funders to commit the necessary resources to end TB.