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Archive for the ‘TB’ Category

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced $2.9 million to support six research projects related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis on Monday.

This investment is a component of the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative (CPI)—a national strategy for transforming the way FDA-regulated products are developed, evaluated and manufactured.  FDA launched the CPI in 2004 to address the decline in the number of innovative medical products being submitted for approval. One of the areas of CPI focus is new efforts to help meet unmet global public health needs.  Beginning in 2010, CPI launched a new project aimed at enhancing the development and availability of diagnostics and therapies for tropical diseases, especially tuberculosis.

On March 19th, FDA Commissioner Hamburg and others announced a new collaboration to accelerate the development of combination treatments for tuberculosis.   (See March 19th post—Public and Private Sector Partners Help to Jump Start Development of New TB Drug Combinations).

Monday’s announcement includes grant awards made in the areas of TB vaccines, drugs and diagnostics.

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The following post is by Annmarie Leadman, Director of Communications at the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation and Babs Verblackt, Associate Communications at TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative – TBVI.

Christine Sizemore of the U.S. National Institutes of Health called on the TB vaccine research field to challenge dogma and to think outside the box as scientists and researchers move into the next generation of TB vaccine development.  Her sentiments echoed a common theme on the final day of the 2nd Global Forum on TB Vaccines in Tallinn, Estonia as more than 200 participants from 31 countries brought the meeting to a conclusion. 

Moving forward toward a common agenda, attendees identified priorities for the next decade, the foundation for a revised Blueprint for TB Vaccines that will be developed over the next year.  The Blueprint will serve as a TB vaccine guidance document defining the critical challenges for basic research, product development, manufacturing and clinical development, and will lay the groundwork for rapid uptake and adoption of a new TB vaccine when licensed. (more…)

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The following post is by Annmarie Leadman, Director of Communications at the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation, and Babs Verblackt, Associate Communications at TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative – TBVI

Knowledge about the global tuberculosis epidemic is misunderstood and will only change with greater understanding of the disease, said TB advocates during a facilitated discussion on TB vaccine advocacy September 24 in Tallinn, Estonia, part of the 2nd Global Forum on TB Vaccines.  Advocates and researchers discussed methods to reframe the issues for donors and stakeholders to significantly increase general support and funding for TB vaccine research.

Sixty-one percent of the TB vaccine funding pool comes from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Claire Wingfield, TB/HIV Project Coordinator of the Treatment Action Group (TAG).  Her organization publishes a report called “Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends,” the second edition was published last year. The first TAG funding report called for an increase in TB research and development spending to $2 billion per year to eliminate TB by 2050. “We need to diversify the funding pool,” Wingfield commented. “Basic research and operational research are woefully under funded.”

“The major misconception (more…)

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In the lead up to this week’s MDG Summit, health experts discussed integration of HIV/AIDS programs with other health programs at a special event in Washington, DC.  David Hoos, MD, of Columbia University’s International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP), one of the largest PEPFAR implementers, spoke on the panel, which was sponsored by the Global Health Council and partners, including the IDSA/HIVMA Center for Global Health Policy.

The springboard for the discussion was a showing of an excerpt of a new film by the company Vestergaard-Frandsen, called “The Test.” The film captures a testing campaign they launched in Kenya to massively scale up HIV testing in the Western Kenyan district of Kakamega, in September, 2008.  The company stated that, “By conducting an HIV test for more than 49,000 people, the campaign demonstrated that it is possible for Kenya to reach its national goal of having 80 percent of adults know their HIV status.”

The company has posted a trailer of the film and background information on a special website.   The campaign was also discussed in more detail in a recent PLoS ONE article. (more…)

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The following is a guest blog posting by Peg Willingham, the Senior Director of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.

World leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York this week to discuss the ambitious global poverty reduction agenda set forth in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  With five years left in the timeline set out to halve global poverty through health, education and environmental programs, there is an urgent need to address issues that cut across the MDGs, such as tuberculosis, a devastating disease of poverty that continues to kill nearly 2 million men, women and children every year.  New tools to fight TB are urgently needed and momentum in TB vaccine research provides an opportunity for optimism.

Simultaneous to the MDG Summit in New York, TB vaccine researchers and stakeholders from around the world  are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia for the 2nd Global Forum on TB Vaccines to assess a decade of progress in the search for more effective TB vaccines and to chart a path forward to sustain the momentum over the next decade. (more…)

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Over the past few weeks, opinion editorials and letters to the editor calling for U.S. support of global HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis funding are cropping up in newspapers across the nation. The media push is in anticipation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit taking place in New York City next week, and the Global Fund replenishment which will be discussed soon thereafter.

The anti-poverty advocacy organization RESULTS has been tracking these clips as part of a media campaign push to make sure the U.S. fulfills a pledge of $6 billion to the MDGs over the next three years. Most recently, former HIV Medicine Association Board Chair Paul Volberding, MD, placed the following in the San Jose Mercury News in response to an opinion piece from earlier in the week.

Don’t overlook fight against TB

The Mercury News (“Obama must fulfill Global Fund pledge,” Editorial, Sept. 13) correctly calls on the administration to continue the momentum in the fight against AIDS through fully funding the Global Fund despite the economic crisis.

We must not forget the impact that tuberculosis inflicts on people living in resource-limited countries, especially those with HIV. The Global Fund is the largest funder of TB programs, and TB is the No. 1 killer of people with HIV.

Increasing funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, program is equally important to permit expanded access to the lifesaving HIV medications that people need to survive and to reduce their vulnerability to tuberculosis.

The administration should be a champion for both PEPFAR and the Global Fund, reflected in proposals for increased funding for both initiatives. The upcoming United Nations MDG Summit gives President Obama the opportunity to pledge the $6 billion over three years needed to ramp up lifesaving initiatives through the Global Fund.

Dr. Paul A. Volberding Professor, Vice Chairman, UC San Francisco School of Medicine

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The Center’s David Bryden describes a visit to the Bwafwano Community Home Based Care organization in Zambia during a recent Congressional delegate trip to Africa.

Children clap and sing as the congressional delegates arrive at the Bwafwano Program.

“Hello, hello! We welcome you to our school!” about 100 clapping children sang as our congressional study tour arrived at the Bwafwano Community Home Based Care organization, run by Executive Director Beatrice Chola. The Bwafwano program provides health and related services to children, including those living with HIV/AIDS. 

There followed a presentation of dancing and singing by a group of about 15 women who were part of the voluntary caregivers group that helps support the local children, a short speech by an HIV positive teenage girl about how she is persevering despite health challenges, and a presentation by Mrs. Chola about current successes and challenges.

(more…)

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