Aeras Statement on Increased Deaths Reported from TB

WHO Global TB Report 2016 Notes Significant Increase Based on New Data, Calls for Increased R&D Funding

Rockville, MD, October 13, 2016 – The number of deaths from tuberculosis (TB) is significantly higher than previously reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which released updated figures in the annual update to its Global Tuberculosis Report today.

The report states that 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015, up from 1.5 million in 2014, with a 50 percent increase in reported deaths of children. New cases of TB are reported as 10.4 million in 2015, compared to 9.6 million in 2014. The WHO notes that half of all patients with multidrug-resistant TB are either not finishing their treatment or are not being helped by it.  “This is particularly alarming as the spread of drug-resistant strains of Mtb, the bacteria that cause TB, is one of the top three drivers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR),” said Aeras CEO Jacqueline E. Shea, PhD. “The AMR threat, coupled with the new data recognizing that we have under reported how many people around the world are killed by TB, including  50 percent more children than previously thought, underscores the urgent need for investments in new tools, including drugs , diagnostics and vaccines.”

The report also stresses the need for additional funding for TB research and development. “As the leading global infectious disease killer, research and development for TB remains significantly underfunded in relation to its impact on global health,” said Dr. Shea. “In 2014, only an estimated $112 million in funding was invested in TB vaccine R&D, compared to the annual global cost burden of TB, which the WHO estimates at $20 billion.”  

Aeras is committed to working with partners around the world to develop new TB vaccines that could help end the epidemic. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals have targeted ending the TB epidemic by 2030. “This important goal simply cannot be achieved without increased investments in developing new vaccines, drugs and diagnostics,” said Dr. Shea.

About Aeras

Aeras is a nonprofit, research and development organization advancing the development of new tuberculosis vaccines for the world, in partnership with other biotech, pharmaceutical, and academic organizations. Aeras has 90 employees from over 20 countries around the world, and has offices in the U.S., Africa, and Asia. Aeras is primarily funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and other parties committed to ending the TB epidemic. We also receive support from the U.S. government, and through partnerships and collaborations with universities and pharmaceutical companies around the world.