TAG welcomes unprecedented U.S. support for TB research, urges all countries to increase investments

TAG welcomes the news of increased investment from the U.S. government in TB research and development; urges all countries to follow through on commitments made at the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on TB.

September 24, 2019 — Treatment Action Group (TAG) welcomes the news of increased investment from the U.S. government in tuberculosis (TB) research and development (R&D) recently announced by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). TAG urges all countries to follow through on commitments made at the 2018 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis and invest their fair share in TB R&D.

Several U.S. government agencies—USAID, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Defense (DOD)—together report contributing an estimated $491.5 million for TB R&D in 2018. This figure includes investments from the NIH in clinical trials infrastructure through its HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks that study HIV and HIV-associated comorbidities, including TB. Historically, TAG has not included this funding in its annual accounting of TB R&D investments, as not all network leadership grants focus exclusively on TB, nor do all of the clinical trial sites in each network engage in TB research. Instead, TAG asks the networks to estimate expenditures on TB-specific studies. Without counting this general network infrastructure investment, U.S. government funding for TB R&D in 2018 is still higher than in 2017, though has not met the funding target.

The U.S. government is far and away the largest funder of TB research globally, accounting for over 60% of public investment in TB R&D in 2017. TAG encourages the U.S. government to maintain its leadership in TB research by continuing to increase funding for TB R&D, and to ensure agencies are coordinated and fully engaged in a comprehensive TB research agenda. This include, in addition to the federal agencies mentioned in the USAID announcement, agencies and departments such as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Veterans Administration (VA). The increase of funding, enhanced coordination, and inclusion of additional U.S. research agencies will strengthen the overall TB R&D portfolio and vital global health leadership undertaken by the U.S. government.

The national TB research funding targets set by TAG provide a floor, not a ceiling, for investment in research to end the world’s deadliest infectious disease.

TAG’s full report on funding for TB research in 2018, which is supported by the Stop TB Partnership, will be released in December 2019.

For questions on TB research funding or the U.S. government’s catalytic role in research funding, please contact Mike Frick at mike.frick@treatmentactiongroup.org or Suraj Madoori at suraj.madoori@treatmentactiongroup.org, respectively.

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By Treatment Action Group

Published: Sept. 24, 2019, 8:47 p.m.

Last updated: Sept. 30, 2019, 7:53 p.m.

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