London, May 20 (ANI): A new report appearing in an eminent medical journal has highlighted the progress in the development of the global tuberculosis (TB) drug pipeline.
The paper published in the Lancet is written by a team of renowned international experts led by Zhenkun Ma, Chief Scientific Officer for the TB Alliance, a not-for-profit organization involved in the discovery and development of new TB drugs
The article also highlights the significant funding and other challenges associated with the pursuit of life-saving treatment for the nearly 2 million people who die each year from TB.
Of the 10 compounds in clinical development, three TB drugs are being co-developed by the TB Alliance and its partners.
These clinical candidates are basic building blocks for a new generation of novel TB drug regimens that have the potential to greatly reduce the global TB burden by shortening the duration of the current treatment regimen, which currently takes six to 30 months.
Results of a recent modeling study in a WHO region suggest that new and improved TB drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics could reduce the global incidence of TB by 71per cent by 2050. In 2008, there were more than 9 million new cases of TB.
Dr. Ma, lead author of the paper, said: "A decade ago, there were essentially no drugs being developed to treat TB, so there has been tremendous progress in this area.
"Global Tuberculosis Drug Development Pipeline: The Need and the Reality." "Still, the global TB drug pipeline must continue to be strengthened to ensure we can deliver the tools to help stop the devastation TB wreaks on patients, families, and countries around the world."
Dr. Ma notes that access to increased and sustainable funding to bring the next generation of TB treatments to patients is a key challenge to unleashing the hope in the drug pipeline.
According to Midecins Sans Frontihres, currently, there is a 75 per cent funding shortfall to support the necessary TB drug research and development.
Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, Director, Department of Immunology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, said: "While we're headed in the right direction, this draws much needed attention to the challenges that lie ahead.
"Only together and with a global commitment can we support the development of new TB regimens and dramatically reduce the mortality of TB and its economic impacts."
Multi-drug combinations are needed to treat drug-sensitive and drug-resistant disease. Until recently, only one new TB drug in a regimen has been tested at a time.
However, with the availability of drug candidates, the Critical Path to TB Regimens (CPTR) initiative was recently launched, which is intended to enable several new TB drugs to be tested simultaneously, in combination. (ANI)