Time of great change in TB drug development

The last year has witnessed a number of epochal changes, including the approval and rollout of the most rapid test for TB ever discovered, the GeneXpert; the combination TB drug studies in the relapse mouse model of Eric Nuermberger and Jacques Grosset at Johns Hopkins with support from the TB Alliance; the progression of TMC207 into late phase II and of OPC67683 into phase III; and the first new regimen EBA study, NC-001 also from the Alliance.

However the outside world is largely unaware of these advances. Unlike malaria where there is great excitement over new vaccine research results, or HIV where there is excitement — and controversy — over how best to implement new research results on the role of antiretroviral treatment in earlier disease for both treatment and prevention of infection — the TB research world has not effectively communicated its recent progress to the public, policymakers, affected communities, and governments.

To increase community involvement and to mobilize political will, in the past two days TAG convened the first meeting of the international TB Community Advisory Board (TB CAB), with activist and public health participants from Belgium, Brasil, India, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, the UK, and the US. The TB CAB is comprised of individuals who are extensively involved in networks of HIV and TB activists and with deep research and activist experience.

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