Synergising TB Drug and Diagnostic Development
Detecting and treating TB go hand in hand. In order to most effectively and responsibly use new drug regimens, diagnostics that can detect drug-resistance are needed. Similarly, enhanced methods of detecting various forms of TB are of reduced value without appropriate treatment. TB Alliance and FIND are collaborating to harmonize development of these new tools.
New TB drugs are critical to overcome the global TB and drug-resistant TB pandemics, but improved treatments are only one part of comprehensive tool kit of preventative, diagnostic, and treatment technologies. The impact of improvements in these fields will be more than the sum of their parts if developers of these technologies approach such efforts with cross-technology synergies in mind. Given the particularly direct relationship between drug and diagnostic development, TB Alliance and Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) have a formal commitment to coordinate the development of complementary novel tools to fight TB, including drug-resistant TB, and identify emerging drug resistance trends around the globe. The partnership will seek to introduce new and better drug regimens by developing tests that can detect resistance to crucial TB drug components.
Currently, few drug-resistant patients in lower-income countries are correctly diagnosed. Drug-resistant TB is often “found” by determining a patient’s reaction to first-line treatment, which means that by the time they are identified as having drug-resistant TB, patients have become even more resistant than they were prior to their latest therapy. By developing a new arsenal of diagnostics that complement drug regimens in development, health care providers will be able to modernize their approach to TB management and treat patients with drugs to which they will respond right from the start.