The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate USD 104 million to the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) to advance a pipeline of new TB drugs over the next five years to find a faster and more effective cure for the disease.
Since its formation in 2000, the non-profit TB Alliance has built the largest pipeline in history of potential new drugs for the treatment and cure of tuberculosis, a disease that kills one in every 15 seconds.
'TB is one of the world's oldest infectious agents and has always posed challenges for the scientific community. But now, we have the technology and the know-how to find a faster, simpler cure,' Peter Small, Senior Program Officer at the Gates Foundation said.
'New treatments could free patients from a grueling six-month regimen and, ultimately, save millions of lives.'The four standard drugs used to treat tuberculosis are more than 40 years old and take at least six months to work effectively.
When the long treatment is not completed or drug supply is interrupted, multi-drug resistant forms of TB can emerge. In addition, TB is a leading killer of people liv ing with HIV/AIDS, but current TB treatment cannot easily be combined with the anti-retrovirals used to treat HIV.
'We are very grateful for this support that quadruples the initial funding the Gates Foundation provided to the TB Alliance and allows us to build on the enormous progress we have made toward shortening TB treatment,' said Maria C Freire, CEO and President, TB Alliance.