New investment in TB eradication welcomed

TB survivor and advocate Louie Zepeda with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop at TB Forum launch

24 MARCH 2015

RESULTS International (Australia) welcomes the Australian Government’s new commitment of $30 million over three years to help bring new diagnostic tests and drugs to market to support the eradication of tuberculosis and malaria.

Foreign Minister Bishop told members of the newly launched Australasian Tuberculosis Forum on the eve of World TB Day last night that this funding aims to increase innovation, encourage creative thinking and pool resources to tackle TB.

Each year some 9 million people around the world contract TB, with more than half of the global TB cases (56%) occur in our region, where there is a growing threat of multi-drug resistant TB.

Multi-drug resistant TB survivor and advocate Filipino Eloisa ‘Louie’ Zepeda welcomed Australia’s commitment to the eradication of TB. The former architect told the Forum of her experience of contracting the disease, the grueling treatment that left her blind, and her hopes for the future.

“I may not design buildings anymore, but I can help improve people’s lives. I hope my daughter will one day live in a world free of TB,” she said.

“I also thank the Australian Government for this new funding. I will be very happy to take this news back to all my friends in the Philippines,” Ms. Zepeda continued.

Also addressing the Forum, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon Tanya Plibersek, spoke about successes in eradicating other serious diseases around the world, and the urgent need to do the same to eradicate TB.

“In the context of severe cuts to the Australian aid budget, we welcome this new funding. However, we can’t help but be concerned about the impact of these cuts on future life-saving aid investments”, RESULTS CEO, Maree Nutt said.

‘Reach, treat, cure everyone’ is the theme for World TB Day in 2015. RESULTS International (Australia) is highlighting the urgent need for more investment in new vaccines and treatments to bring an end to this sometimes forgotten disease and for a strategic regional response to the threat of tuberculosis.

The Australian Government’s $20 million support for TB will be provided through Product Development Partnerships, an innovative public-private partnership model for co-investing in development of new medical technologies.   Bringing together public and private sector funding corrects a market failure to develop medical products needed by those with limited purchasing power.

The TB Alliance will receive $10 million over three years to support late stage clinical trials of new TB treatments including PaMZ a new oral regimen which has the potential to shorten and simplify TB treatment and reduce the cost of treating multi-drug resistant TB by up to 90 per cent.

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) will receive $10 million over three years to accelerate the development and uptake of faster and more accurate diagnostic tools essential for prescribing appropriate treatment and has a major impact on disease outcomes.

ENDS

Media Contact: Maree Nutt (CEO) Mob: 0404 808 849