TB Alliance, an international non-profit that develops better, faster-acting, and affordable tuberculosis (TB) drugs, announced today the establishment of an advisory group of prominent health and development experts that will support the TB Alliance’s initiative to fight TB in children.
The advisors represent diverse backgrounds specializing in global health, pediatric treatment, and child survival, and will advise the TB Alliance on a broad array of issues that impact the treatment of children with TB, including health policy, co-infection with HIV/AIDS, child-friendly treatment, and barriers to access.
“Our advisors serve a critical role and are an important source of advice and ideas” said Mel Spigelman, MD, President and CEO of the TB Alliance. “”and we look forward to working with each of these individuals to help ensure children around the world have access to safe and effective TB treatment.”
The initial group of advisors includes: Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); Dr. Dick Chalma, UNICEF; Catherine Connor, Esq., Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; Dr. Stephen Graham, University of Melbourne; Dr. Krishna Jafa, Population Services International; Dr. Samuel Maldonado, Janssen; and Dr. Jeffrey Starke, Baylor College of Medicine. Their biographies can be found here.
TB is a top ten cause of death in children. More than half a million children became sick with TB in 2012 and 74,000 died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Despite the extent of the problem, children with TB are neglected and today, there is no appropriate treatment. Often, pills for adults are split or crushed and given to children to take every day, from 6 months to two years or even longer. This complicates treatment, burdening health systems, clinicians, parents, and most importantly, children. Many other challenges exist that contribute to the lack of availability of appropriate TB treatments for children.
TB Alliance, working with WHO and others, seeks to improve TB treatment in several ways:
· Delivering new, correctly dosed, child-friendly formulations of the first-line drugs for children, including babies, by 2016.
· Improving the understanding of the scope of the problem in high TB burden countries to better define the size of the global market and catalyze global investment for pediatric TB medicines.
· Helping companies enter the pediatric TB market to ensure the manufacturer of and sustainable access to any new beneficial treatments.
· Reducing the time lag between the introduction of new TB therapies for adults and the introduction for children by clarifying the regulatory pathway.
About the TB Alliance
The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis. Through innovative science and with partners around the globe, we aim to ensure equitable access to faster, better TB cures that will advance global health and prosperity. The TB Alliance operates with funding from Australia Aid, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Irish Aid, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, UNITAID, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Food and Drug Administration. For more information please visit www.tballiance.org