BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

March 25, 2019

Research Roundup: the cost of wiping out TB, a global hub for AMR, and US begins $10 million vaccine project against Marburg virus

Marissa Chmiola
Communications Officer
GHTC
PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

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Tuberculosis (TB) could be eliminated by 2045 if investments against the disease are increased to US$10 billion a year, according to a panel of experts from the Lancet Commission on TB. The commission has laid out a roadmap for ending TB by investing in a range of actions including research and development (R&D), targeted prevention, and improved diagnostics. It calls for TB R&D investments to be increased from the current amount of $772 million a year to at least $2 billion a year over the next four years and estimates that for every dollar spent on TB R&D there will be an estimated $16-82 return on investment. The commission launched its report six months after the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB to provide guidance on translating member state commitments into action and investments to eliminate the disease.

The Global AMR [antimicrobial resistance] Research and Development Hub, announced during Germany’s G20 presidency in 2017 and launched at last year’s World Health Assembly, is now taking shape in Berlin. Fully financed by the German government for an initial three years as part of a $556 million 10-year pledge to address AMR, the hub was conceived as a way to help align national and international initiatives on AMR and use data to inform the research agenda. The secretariat’s initial focus is creating a dashboard to map existing R&D activities worldwide to produce information and point to gaps to guide policymakers in making investment decisions. Given the influence this mapping could have on research priorities, external advocates are pushing to ensure the hub’s activities reflect the needs of low- and middle-income countries who are not often at the forefront of setting the global AMR agenda.

The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has awarded a two-year, $10 million contract to a US biotech firm to support the development of a vaccine against Marburg, a hemorrhagic virus that has caused a number of deadly outbreaks in Africa and is considered a potential bioterror threat by the US government. The contract with Public Health Vaccines will support advancement of a promising vaccine candidate now in pre-clinical development. If the research shows the vaccine to be feasible, BARDA has the option to provide up to $72 million in additional funding to support the vaccine candidate through a phase 2 clinical trial and begin development of an additional vaccine candidate against the Sudan Ebola virus, a closely-related virus.

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