Message From our CEO
In March of 2016, a South African university student named Phumeza Tisile stood before policy makers and Members of Parliament in Bloemfontein and told her story: how she was diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in the prime of her life; how she had to take 20 pills plus an injection every day, and eventually lost her hearing as a result; how she persevered in the face of what is often a death sentence, and became South Africa’s first female XDR-TB survivor. Phumeza asked the audience to open their eyes to the burgeoning TB crisis across the globe, and reminded them that we cannot end this epidemic without better drugs, innovative diagnostics and a new vaccine.
As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but come back to Phumeza. Each and every one of our achievements – from building momentum in clinical and preclinical research, to setting new standards for community engagement at clinical sites—have been made with people like Phumeza in mind. A safe, effective TB vaccine could have saved Phumeza, her family and her community from so much suffering.
We don’t yet have the key to stopping TB. But Aeras will continue to fight for progress by learning as much as we can from our ongoing trials and research; by sharing scientific gains, building strong partnerships, and making sure that the world hears our call for increased and essential investment in TB vaccine research and development; and by leading the push for innovation, in the lab and beyond.
Many thanks to all of the partners, staff, donors and stakeholders who helped further TB vaccine research in 2016. There is still so much work to be done, but I look forward to meeting the challenges ahead together, with strength and ingenuity.