Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends 2005-2021 Report

The report Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005–2021 was released recently by Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Stop TB Partnership.

About Treatment Action Group (TAG)

The Treatment Action Group (TAG) is an independent activist, and community-based research and policy think tank promoting racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ equality, social justice and liberation. It is supporting marginalized and vulnerable people affected by HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) by ensuring collective actions by affected communities, scientists, and policymakers.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • The latest report marks the second year of including TB research spending since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the report, 2020 and 2021 did not witness a decline in spending for TB research and development due to reallocation or reprioritization of resources for responding to the pandemic.
  • In 2021, the funding for TB research and development has reached the billion-dollar threshold for the first time in history.
  • While this is a significant milestone, it is only half of what the governments committed in the 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB. It is only one-fifth of the resources currently required to put the world on track to end TB.
  • During the 2018 UN High Level Meeting on TB, governments committed to scale up the funding for TB research to 2 billion USD each year. They recognized that the currently available tools to combat TB alone are not sufficient to meet the 2030 SDG target of ending TB as an epidemic since new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments are required.
  • In 2022, the Stop TB Partnership released the 2023–2030 Global Plan to End TB, which recommended increasing the funding to 5 billion USD each year. This is more than double the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting Target.
  • While the COVID-19 pandemic may not have visibly reduced the TB research funding till date, it had devastated the global breakthroughs in combating TB. In 2020 and 2021, number of deaths caused by TB surged for the first time since 2005. This is mainly because of the pandemic-led delays in emergency responses and inaccessibility to critical diagnostics and life-saving treatments.
  • The pandemic has also delayed the TB research results. The limited resources for research were stretched to support COVID-19 safety measures so that research activities can continue unhindered.
  • Though this year’s report shows increasing in funding for TB research, the majority of such funding comes from a few large organizations. The top two funders together account for 47 per cent of the overall expenditure, and the top 20 funds account for 83 per cent of all funds. The remaining 17 per cent of the funds comes from 141 smaller organizations.

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