Stop TB Partnership

Treatment Action Group laments anemic pipeline for new TB drugs, diagnostics and vaccines


30 June 2013 - Kuala Lumpur - Research and development for new tools to treat, diagnose and prevent tuberculosis (TB) is moving forward far too slowly, according to a report published by Treatment Action Group (TAG) and HIV i-Base.

The 2013 Pipeline Report identifies some successes in the development and deployment of new tools to fight TB, but says that a lack of investment and political will has resulted in a pipeline for new TB diagnostics, treatments and vaccines that is anemic when compared to those for HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

To speed up the delivery of the best medical products to tackle HIV, HCV and TB, the report’s authors call on research funders to continue investing in better products, demand that regulators expedite the review of new medications and call on international and national authorities to continue to streamline and simplify treatment guidelines, among other recommendations.

"Every year, the world reads the TAG report hoping to hear about progress in TB research and development. But again we have been disappointed," said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership. "We need a massive surge in funding and attention for new tools to reverse this anemic trend. Unless we understand this and act on it, our children will still be fighting TB many decades from now."

In a three-part section on TB, the report notes that some progress has been made in rolling out new DNA-based tests, but these remain out of reach for the majority of TB patients. Advances have also been made in TB treatment, including the approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration of the first new TB drug in a new class in more than 40 years. Research on TB vaccines remains slow and underfunded but there are some glimmers of hope, particularly in the areas of basic science and early clinical trials.

The report concludes that much greater investment is needed in TB research and development, as well as in the scale of up TB programmes, to ensure that patients have access to the best diagnostics tests and preventive and curative therapies.

Read the 2013 Pipeline Report