March 7, 2021

Healthcare companies partner with USAID to combat Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB)

3 min read
TB
World TB Day: South Africans rallying in Cape Town to support a call to action against tuberculosis in 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced two new partnerships today to add resources and cutting-edge technologies to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).  Janssen, the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson, announced a $15-20 million pledge as part of a new partnership with USAID to combat Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).  USAID will also partner with Cepheid, a maker of molecular systems and tests, to speed diagnosis of MDR-TB through increased access to rapid, accurate diagnostic tools.

These two commitments support the recently released White House National Action Plan to Combat Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis.  These partnerships build and expand on existing, successful collaborations including a 3-year, $30 million donation of the drug SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) from Janssen.

TB kills more adults around the world than any other infectious disease; every day more than 4000 people die of TB, and each year there are 1.5 million deaths from the disease. MDR-TB occurs in almost every country in the world, including the United States.  This year alone, more than 480,000 people will develop MDR-TB and fewer than 20 percent will receive the medications they need.Tuberculosis+patient+xgold

“USAID remains committed to addressing the global rise of MDR-TB as outlined in the White House National Action Plan,” said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health.  “With the successful implementation of this plan, we have an incredible opportunity to make a significant impact on the emergence and spread of MDR-TB.  We will continue to harness mutually rewarding partnerships, like the ones with Janssen and Cepheid, to lead international efforts against MDR-TB,” he said.  Adrian Thomas, Janssen Vice President of Global Market & Public Health, said “In addition to major investments in MDR-TB, we are committing an additional $15-20 million in cash and in-kind contributions to improve access to treatment, address stigma, and to fund innovation in the diagnosis and delivery of care.

The ambitious outcomes described in the White House National Action Plan will be achieved through the collective efforts of countries and partners to introduce and expand new tools and approaches.  The private sector announcement today is a positive step towards achieving the goals of the Plan

WHO: Key facts

Tuberculosis (TB) is a top infectious disease killer worldwide.

In 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease.

Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.

In 2014, an estimated 1 million children became ill with TB and 140 000 children died of TB.

TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people: in 2015, 1 in 3HIV deaths was due to TB.

Globally in 2014, an estimated 480 000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

The Millennium Development Goal target of halting and reversing the TB epidemic by 2015 has been met globally. TB incidence has fallen by an average of 1.5% per year since 2000 and is now 18% lower than the level of 2000.

The TB death rate dropped 47% between 1990 and 2015.

An estimated 43 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2014.

Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

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