Areas of TB Research
TB elimination by 2050 can only be reached if the whole continuum of research- from discovery science to the implementation of new tools- is properly addressed and funded in a harmonized way. Research is particularly needed in the following areas:
Fundamental research - To better understand the TB germ and its interaction with man, so that we can target better tools for effective control (diagnosis, drugs and vaccines). More information [.pdf]Research and Development:
- For new diagnostics - To quickly find out if someone has TB and to confirm what form of TB it is, so that TB patients receive the right treatment faster and do not continue to spread the disease. New diagnostic are also highly needed for rapid assessment of MDR-TB. More information [.pdf]
- For new drugs - A much shorter treatment is needed, that is safe and non toxic, compatible with antiretroviral drugs and efficient against the resistant forms of the disease.
- For new vaccines - To revolutionize TB control, we need a vaccine that not only protects against new infections but stops the 35% of the world's population that is already infected with the TB germ from developing TB disease.
Operational/implementation research - To search for knowledge on interventions, strategies, or tools that can enhance the quality, effectiveness, or coverage of health care programs. The aim is to ensure the effective implementation of existing and new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB in health care services, and to investigate for the most efficient means to provide optimal TB care around the world. More information [.pdf].
Evidence from operational research projects can help pave the way for ensuring many more people have access to vital TB health services. It can achieve this by shedding new light on how current TB polices and practices can be 'fine-tuned' and further improved. It can also give important insight on how best new tools for TB, currently in development, can be introduced in ways that deliver maximum benefits.
Priorities in operational research to improve tuberculosis care and control describes the current areas where gaps in knowledge are hindering the optimal implementation of TB control activities and how these obstacles can be removed. This new publication features a list of the critical questions that must be addressed to improve TB care and control at the community, national, regional and international levels together with a synopsis of a suitable study design and the methods required to identify and test suitable solutions. The wide dissemination and use of this publication is expected to bring about improvements in current programme research that could ultimately result in better evidence-based global policy and local practice.
The document has been developed by WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme, the Stop TB Partnership's Research Movement, and the GFATM.
The development of new tools for improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of TB is coordinated by the following four Working Groups.
- the Working Group on New TB Diagnostics
- the Working Group on New TB Drugs
- the Working Group on New TB Vaccines
- the DOTS Expansion Working Group
Each of the Working Groups has developed its own ten-year strategic plan: