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Worldwide TB R&D funding surpasses $1 billion, but falls short of goals

The report, Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005–2021, highlights that despite reaching the $1-billion mark, funding for TB R&D is a mere fraction of what’s needed to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of ending TB as a pandemic by 2030.

TB co-exists with other non-communicable diseases, including diabetes mellitus, and smoking adds to the risk of both health conditions. (Representational Image/File)
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For the first time in history, funding for tuberculosis (TB) research and development (R&D) hit a billion dollars worldwide in 2021. This marked a significant milestone that nonetheless falls significantly short of what’s needed to stay on track to end TB, claimed a new report released by Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Stop TB Partnership Tuesday evening.

TAG is an independent, activist, and community-based research and policy think tank “committed to racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ equity; social justice; and liberation, fighting to end HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and hepatitis C virus (HCV).” The Stop TB Partnership is a United Nations-hosted entity based in Geneva, Switzerland, that has a goal to end the disease by 2030.

The report, Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005–2021, highlights that despite reaching the $1-billion mark, funding for TB R&D is a mere fraction of what’s needed to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of ending TB as a pandemic by 2030. Every day, 4,400 people continue to die from TB, a treatable and curable airborne infectious disease.

“We are proud that two decades of activism and scientific advances have led to this unprecedented level of funding for TB research,” said TAG executive director Mark Harrington.

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The United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018 set the target of $2 billion per annum for R&D. After years of chronic underinvestment and devastating disruptions caused by Covid-19, the Stop TB Partnership’s ‘Global Plan to End TB, 2023–2030’ estimates the funding need for TB R&D to have gone up to $5 billion per annum.

“I don’t want to celebrate anything. We have reached $1 billion, but this is far from what is needed to make a serious difference…” said Dr Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership.

“We should put fundraising efforts in motion and identify smart financing approaches to advance research, develop point-of-care diagnosis, deliver shorter treatments, and get a new TB vaccine by the end of 2025,” Dr Ditiu said in a statement issued later.

First published on: 07-12-2022 at 18:26 IST
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