G20 Leaders Highlight TB, Vaccine Development as Global Health Priorities

G20 leaders laid out an explicit commitment to fighting TB and prioritizing research and development efforts in their closing statements at the G20 Summit in July, signalling the potential for a landmark shift in how global leaders approach the looming TB threat:

            "We will promote access to affordable and quality antimicrobials, vaccines and diagnostics, including through efforts to preserve existing therapeutic options. We highlight the importance of fostering R&D, in particular for                          priority  pathogens as identified by the WHO and tuberculosis. We call for a new international R&D Collaboration Hub to maximise the impact of existing and new anti-microbial basic and clinical research initiatives as well as                  product development. We invite all interested countries and partners to join this new initiative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     - G20 Leader’s Declaration

Aeras, among a coalition of 35 worldwide health advocates, research institutes, NGOs, and members of national parliaments, had advocated for G20 leaders to prioritize TB in their agenda in an open letter in June, and the Berlin TB Summit made a similar plea earlier in the year. “This is a remarkable victory for the TB community and for global health in general,” said Aeras CEO Jacqui Shea at the time of the announcement. “We hope to keep momentum going and translate this commitment into more robust investment and tangible progress for TB vaccine research and development.”

The declaration will likely play a role in discussions at the upcoming WHO Ministerial Meeting on TB in November and the UN High Level Meeting on TB in 2018, but the extent of its impact will depend on continued global advocacy and support in highlighting how critical new, effective TB vaccines will be in stopping the TB epidemic.