Treatment Action Group and Stop TB Partnership Issue Update on 2011 Global TB R&D Investment Trends

14 November 2012 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - For the seventh year, Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Stop TB Partnership have published the latest investment data on the state of global tuberculosis (TB) research and development (R&D) funding. The 2012 Report on Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends: 2005-2011 finds 81 donors invested US$649.6 million in TB R&D, an 82% increase from the baseline year of 2005, but only a 3% increase over 2010 funding levels.

The report builds on seven years of investment data to report on annual funding trends and gaps among the leading TB R&D donors, and analyzes current spending levels to assess the world's progress in meeting the Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015 (Global Plan) R&D funding targets.

"According to the latest data, global TB research investment continues to fall US$1.35 billion short of the annual US$2 billion funding target recommended by the Global Plan to Stop TB," said TAG’s executive director, Mark Harrington. "New point-of-care diagnostic tests, super-short-course TB cures, and effective TB vaccines that will be required to eliminate the disease are being held back by a global drought of research funding. High-burden middle-income countries such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa need to invest much more in TB research to ensure the health of their own citizens and those around them."

"These data on research investments reinforce the sad fact that the world is falling short on two fronts: fully funding scaling up efforts to save the lives of people with TB using the tools we have now, and investing in the future through R&D for new diagnostics, new drugs, and vaccines. It is both an outrage and a threat that investments in urgently needed new TB tools have risen so very slightly. We are in 2012, and we still use 100-year-old tools in TB care. This is inexplicable," said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership.

Of the six research areas tracked in this report, TB drug development continued to receive the largest share of global R&D investments - US$250 million. "Since TAG began documenting TB R&D investments in 2006, we have witnessed significant new investment in TB drug development," said Erica Lessem, assistant director of TAG’s TB/HIV project. "The latest investment figure is a 9% increase from 2010 levels, but represents only 34% of the US$740 million annual target. To adequately support the development of new TB drug regimens, we need an additional US$490 million per year."

Funding for vaccine development grew 22% to US$95.4 million, but needs to rise to US$380 million. Diagnostics funding increased 14% to US$55 million, but needs to grow to US$340 million. Operational research rose to US$84 million - greater than the Global Plan’s US$80 million target. "The US$84 million operational research investment is a praiseworthy achievement for the TB community," said Eleonora Jiménez-Levi, the report’s author. "Operational research is an instrumental part of the TB R&D agenda because it provides critical data on the efficacy, efficiency, and applicability of new tools and programs designed to control TB. We need intensified investments here so that we can enjoy the full potential of the promising new tools being studied to control and end TB," concluded Jiménez-Levi.

"Research is one of the key requirements to reach zero TB deaths, zero new TB infections, and zero TB suffering and stigma," said Mark Harrington. "We must rapidly accelerate TB R&D investments to make the elimination of tuberculosis happen in this generation."

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