04 August 2021, Geneva, Switzerland – The Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF) today announced the inclusion in its catalog, for the first time ever two ultra-portable digital X-ray systems and two software packages for the computer-aided detection (CAD) of tuberculosis (TB) based on artificial intelligence. The inclusion of these important digital tools to combat TB will be made available at a reduced cost to all TB programmes in low-and-middle-income countries.
To help facilitate uptake of these new technologies, the Stop TB Partnership has also launched today a Practical Guide on the Screening and Triage for TB using Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) Technology and Ultra-portable X-Ray Systems .
Recent advancements in digital X-ray technology have resulted in lighter weight, more portable devices that can be used to more easily reach people in remote settings. The two ultra-portable digital systems available through GDF can be carried in backpacks or suitcases, preventing the need for specialized transport. The FDR Xair from Fujifilm is available from GDF for $49,000, a 30% lower price compared to publicly available price estimates. The Delft Light from Delft Imaging is available from GDF for $66,750, the lowest price compared to publicly available estimates,* with lower prices available when increasing numbers of units are procured. Both systems come with all required components and additional accessories to allow for safe use. Combining all the required equipment needed to use these machines and having the lowest available prices via GDF should allow TB programmes to quickly introduce and scale-up the use of these technologies.
TB is one of the world’s oldest infectious diseases, which continues to kill more than 4000 people a day, including 700 children. The TB response is in desperate need of acceleration of efforts and rapid scale up to reach the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB targets and commitments.
In March 2021, WHO recommended that CAD software may be used in place of human readers for interpreting digital chest X-rays for TB screening and triage in individuals 15 years old and above. The two CAD software packages now available to GDF clients are InferRead DR Chest from Infervision for $5,000 and CAD4TB from Delft Imaging for $16,700. When procured via GDF, a CAD software package includes one perpetual license, allowing an unlimited number of reads, the ability to process images both online and offline, required hardware, installation, training and one-year of support. This all-inclusive approach could save GDF clients up to $13,400 per year when compared to a price-per-read solution.**
To help facilitate country use of these new technologies, the Stop TB Partnership has released a Screening and Triage for TB using Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) Technology and Ultra-portable X-Ray Systems: A Practical Guide. The guide provides practical and comprehensive guidance on how to successfully utilize CAD and ultra-portable digital X-ray technologies for TB screening and triage, including advice on how to convert the most recent WHO policy guidance and Operational Handbook into a practical implementation plan. The guide builds on initial field experience gained by early implementers, including those supported by the Stop TB Partnership’s TB REACH Initiative. Technical details about the newly available products in the GDF catalog are included in the guide as well as relevant implementation resources, including a high-level checklist of key implementation steps and budgetary considerations, and checklists for site assessment. The practical guide was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Affairs Canada.
The addition of these products to the GDF catalog highlights GDF’s ability to apply its 20 years of experience to new areas, like digital health technologies, to facilitate equitable, sustainable access to new tools for TB. As stated in the 2018 UN Political Declaration on the Fight against TB states, “We, Heads of State and Government and representatives of States and Governments […] encourage all nations to use the Stop TB Partnership/Global Drug Facility.”
All countries can procure these products via GDF, regardless of funding source.
*FIND’s Digital Chest Radiography and Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) Solutions for Tuberculosis Diagnostics Technology Landscape available here.
For more information, please see:
- GDF Diagnostics Catalog
- GDF Diagnostics Ordering List
- Screening and Triage for TB using Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) Technology and Ultra-portable X-Ray Systems: A Practical Guide
GDF is the largest procurer of TB medicines and diagnostics globally. GDF’s unique portfolio of services, including management and coordination of market activities for the full portfolio of TB products, strategic procurement and innovative logistics solutions, technical assistance and capacity building for TB programmes in better pharmaceutical management practices, and accelerated uptake of new TB tools, helps facilitate worldwide, equitable access to TB medicines and diagnostics.
Since its creation in 2001, GDF has facilitated access to TB medicines and diagnostics in more than 140 countries, making quality-assured treatments available to over 32 million people with TB. In 2020 alone, GDF delivered more than USD300 million worth of TB medicines and diagnostics to 124 countries. GDF has led the introduction of advanced diagnostics and supplies, longer and shorter all-oral regimens for drug-resistant TB, and child-friendly medicines for both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB. Since 2012, GDF has secured price reductions of over 50 percent for most second-line TB medicines, primarily by reducing risk to suppliers and minimizing their transaction costs. In 2020, GDF saved National TB Programs approximately USD36 million: USD28 million in medicine price reductions from competitive tenders and supplier negotiations; USD1.5 million by readjusting inaccurate quantification/order numbers; and USD6.5 million by allowing flexibility to cancel and postpone previously paid orders. GDF’s approach to bundle procurement with technical assistance on quantification and supply planning allows GDF to monitor for risks of future stockouts via national early warning systems and take necessary action to avoid stockouts.