23 March 2010
A new drive to slash the number of TB deaths in the world’s poorest countries will today receive £12 million in aid from the Department for International Development (DFID).
TB kills nearly two million people annually and is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa. Worldwide, nearly 25% of people who die of TB are HIV positive.
Eight million pounds will go to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to support their work on new TB vaccines that will provide increased protection from TB, and will – for the first time – be safe to give to people with HIV.
Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine, the only licensed TB vaccine which is administered in childhood, is currently too dangerous for the weakened immune systems of people living with HIV.
International Development Minister, Mike Foster, said:
"HIV weakens immune systems and leaves those infected more vulnerable to TB. And yet the only vaccine currently available to prevent TB is a child immunisation that is dangerous for HIV positive children – exactly those who are and will grow up to be most at risk.
"If the international community is serious about tackling HIV and TB we must find a way to break this devastating cycle. That is why the UK is supporting the discovery of a new TB vaccine that is safe for babies born with HIV, and why we are scaling up efforts to reduce the impact of drug resistant strains of TB."
TB is becoming increasingly difficult to treat due to the growth of drug-resistant strains caused by inconsistent treatment.
As part of the new drive DFID also announced £4 million UK aid for the Foundation of Innovative Diagnostics (FIND) to help reduce drug resistant strains of TB by scaling up the speed and accuracy of testing for TB.
The new Aeras vaccines are also being developed to provide protection against all strains of TB, including adult ‘Pulmonary TB’ – the biggest TB killer - and drug resistant strains.
"Investment by the UK government in our TB vaccine development program is a tremendous boost for Aeras and our partners, especially during such a difficult economic environment,” said R. Gordon Douglas Jr, MD, Executive Chairman of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.
"We are grateful to DFID for this generous show of support.”
In 2007 the UK announced a landmark £1 billion commitment to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria which has helped provide 5.4 million people with TB treatment.
What are Bookmarks?
DFID around the web:
© Crown copyright 2010