Source: Stop TB Partnership News, November 3, 2011
A plan targeting researchers around the world and providing them with a framework to achieve the research objectives of the the Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015 and beyond, towards elimination of TB, was launched on Saturday at the Union World Conference on Lung Health.
Produced by the Stop TB Partnership’s Research Movement, the International Roadmap for Tuberculosis Research outlines all priority areas for investment in TB research and is intended to promote coordination and harmonization of scientific work on TB. Research priorities are identified in the areas of epidemiology; fundamental research; research and development of new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; and operational and public health research. The ultimate objective is to reach all populations, including people with TB/HIV co-infection or MDR-TB and children, with new and better methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
“We know that research is an essential driver of success towards elimination of TB; and we also know the critical importance of addressing the overall continuum of research, expanding beyond product R&D. That is why this roadmap provides architecture upon which transformational and outcome-oriented focus areas can be constructed for better TB research,” said Dr Christian Lienhardt, Senior Scientific Adviser to the Stop TB Partnership. “It is also intended to promote organization of cross-disciplinary teams and attract all research-related constituents to the field, especially those in BRICS countries–who we know have a vital role to play.”
The research plan was developed through a priority ranking exercise conducted by a multidisciplinary group of 50 research experts, a multidisciplinary Delphi consultation, a series of systematic reviews and an open web-based survey.
“This document long due represents an essential guide in setting priorities in TB research for academia, industry and product development partnerships, and most importantly an inspiration and encouragement for researchers, national programmes and affected communities to become engaged in the path of research and innovation,” said Dr Giorgio Roscigno of the African Society for Laboratory Medicine.
The roadmap appears at a critical moment, when funding for TB research has flattened for the first time since 2005. A report released earlier this week by the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Stop TB Partnership found that in 2010 just US$ 617.1 million was spent on TB research and development, down 0.3% compared to 2009 funding levels.
The Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015 calls for at least US$ 9.8 billion in TB research funds over the plan’s five-year period. The new report warns of a potential funding gap US$ 6.4 billion for meeting the plan’s targets.
“TAG is delighted that after a long, thorough, and inclusive consultation process involving scientists, TB experts, implementers, funders and community advocates from around the world, the Stop TB Partnership has published this roadmap, said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of TAG. “It provides a common platform for donors, researchers, implementers, and advocates by identifying the most important research questions, laying out priorities, and explaining how critical research can improve the lives of people with and at risk for TB by making diagnosis and cure more rapid and effective; while laying the groundwork for TB elimination through a safe, effective vaccine alongside quicker TB tests and cures.