Statement on Civil Society Hearing on the UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis

On 4 June 2018, Aeras participated in the Interactive Civil Society Hearing as part of the preparatory process towards the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on ending tuberculosis (TB) that will take place on 26 September of this year. More than 100 civil society organizations, activists, researchers and people affected by TB identified priority concerns that they believe are essential for a meaningful political declaration to end TB.

Here is the statement prepared by Aeras, FIND and TB Alliance as an intervention on Panel 2: Investing to end the world’s leading infectious killer – presented on behalf of our organizations at the hearing by TB Alliance.

Notwithstanding significant under-funding of R&D for new tools, progress has been made:

  • Fifteen years ago, there was only one vaccine candidate in the clinical trial pipeline. Today, there are 14, with several more in pre-clinical development
  • We can detect TB and rifampicin resistance in decentralized settings and have reduced the time to receive test results from months to hours.
  • We now have over 30 projects in the treatment pipeline and the first fully novel regimens since 1976 are set to get approval in the next few years

We can therefore be bold, and we should be! To capitalize on this progress, to ensure we deliver results that can support the goals of ending TB and closing the gap, significant investment in R&D and product development in the fight against TB is needed urgently. The majority of funding for the work to develop new tools should not come from five donors as is the case now – TB is a disease impacting every country, and specifically a large number of emerging economies.

A more diverse and global commitment to fund R&D is needed. 

We therefore urge member states to ensure that the political declaration commits to tripling the overall annual investments in TB R&D, and further urge for all member states to commit their fair share of the global funding need. The declaration must also reiterate commitments made to support international and national collaboration in research and new product development as well as collaboration in funding, through engagement of domestic, international and innovative financing mechanisms and the use of appropriate incentive mechanisms.

For more information on the high-level meeting, visit the WHO website.