NEWS ALERT - 29 June 2023 | Geneva, Switzerland
Stop TB applauds Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust for their US$550 million funding for final clinical trials of the TB vaccine candidate
Urges world leaders to commit at least US$1.25 billion per year for the next 5 years to have a new TB vaccine
29 June 2023, Geneva, Switzerland - The Stop TB Partnership warmly welcomes the announcement by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust about the commitment of US$550 million to fund the phase 3 clinical trials for the M72 Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine.
The Phase 3 trial is being conducted in collaboration with an international consortium of TB clinical investigators. The trial will enroll approximately 26,000 people, including people living with HIV and without TB infection, at more than 50 trial sites in Africa and Southeast Asia. If proven effective the M72 could become one of the first vaccines to help prevent pulmonary TB in more than a century.
The M72 vaccine is one of the 14 TB vaccine candidates that are currently under development around the world. Five of the 14 candidates are already in phase 3 clinical trials and few of them are at a stage where results of phase 3 trials are expected soon. The mRNA technology is being repurposed for TB following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB in September, Stop TB and all partners calls on global leaders to bolster funding and efforts to ensure that a new TB vaccine is available and rolled out by 2027.
The UN Member States have a historic opportunity in September to bring together different governments and interested parties for coordinated investments to meet the US$1.25 billion annual funding target to advance TB vaccine development. Every $1 invested in the development and rollout of new TB vaccines for adolescents and adults will return $7 to the global economy over 25 years.
“Well, we kind of waited for a while to have M72 going in phase 3 trials – so it is great that this is finally happening, and we are grateful for the investment of the Gates Foundation and Wellcome to make this happen. The world needs to know that there are other 5 candidates ready to go to the final phases of trials and another 9-10 in different initial phases of development – so it is possible to get a vaccine, roll it out for everyone, and ensure we end TB by 2030! We need to see in TB the resources and the mobilization that we saw for COVID vaccine development – which, knowing that TB kills 4,400 people every day – should be available, isn’t it?”, said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.Member States must commit to substantially increase financing for TB Research and Development overall to $5 billion per year from 2023, as outlined in the Global Plan to End TB 2023-2030, and recognize that all Member States must contribute their fair share
The Global Plan to End TB 2023-2030 also estimates that during 2023-2030 a total of US$10 billion will be required for TB vaccine research and development. This works out to US$1.25 billion per year which is a fraction compared to what was spent on COVID-19 (an airborne pathogen as well) vaccine research & development.