23 March 2012 | News | By BioSpectrum Bureau
Tackling TB in Asia
There are a number of institutions and companies working to tackle the root of TB in Asia
Nearly three million new TB cases occur in South East Asia per year. Annually, about 700,000 women die of TB in Asia, and over three million contract the disease, accounting for about 17 million disability adjusted life years (DALY). It is estimated that between 2000 and 2020, nearly one billion people will be newly infected, 200 million will get sick, and 35 million will die from TB, worldwide. According to the WHO, the number of new TB cases arising every year, the prevalence of TB cases, and the number of people dying in the South East Asian region are 3.3 million; 4.9 million and 480,000, respectively.
The probability of the emergence of a lethal phase of TDR-TB is very high in Asia due to its poor economy, inefficient healthcare systems and lack of government initiatives. It would be extremely difficult to eradicate TB from the world, if we cannot control TB in Asia. Various other factors such as TB-HIV co-infection is also increasing the complexity of the epidemic, making it far more difficult to contain. Several non-Asian non-governmental organizations have thus focused their work towards the region in order to tackle the scourge.
Many companies and institutions such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Novartis, Sandoz, TB Alliance and Tibotec are working actively in the field of TB.
Lilly MDR-TB Partnership
It is a public-private initiative led by Eli Lilly and Company that encompasses global health and relief organizations, academic institutions and private companies. The partnership is working to transfer technology and expertise on how to manufacture two of Lilly's antibiotics (cycloserine and capreomycin) used to treat MDR-TB. These medicines are supplied through the WHO's Global Drug Facility.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
USAID is an independent US government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. The USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) manages regional programs that benefits all of East Asia and much of South Asia and the Pacific. RDMA supports tuberculosis (TB) activities in nine high-burden countries (HBCs) such as Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Global Fund
It is a global public-private partnership initiative dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Global Fund was established in 2002. It has raised funds mainly from the governments of the G8 countries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as other government agencies, foundations, and private companies. It has approved proposals totaling $19.2 billion in 144 countries, saving an estimated 4.9 million lives.