Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Letter from Joelle Tanguy Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development

  It was a pleasure to meet you at the home of Sir Thomas Harris, and I hope you had excellent visits in New York and Geneva. At the request of Lord Soulsby, I am enclosing information pertaining to the need for new tuberculosis drugs, and thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the review of the House of Lords Subcommittee.

  As you well know, the tuberculosis epidemic, now infecting one in three people around the world, is spreading at alarming rates and kills one person every 15 seconds. Yet no new drugs were developed for 30 years and the length of treatment imposed by these older drugs actually hinder the progress and effectiveness of a TB control program. Furthermore, the lack of a novel chemical entity makes multi-drug resistant tuberculosis a deadly threat.

  Today, all the pieces are in place for partnering in a reinvigorated research and development environment to address this widely recognised medical need. Indeed, the promising advances in science, the unprecedented momentum in public and private sectors, and the laser-sharp focus of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development—with support globally—can make this goal a reality.

  We hope the story here inspires the committee to consider the recommendations of the Stop TB Partnership to view the TB epidemic not only as a critical issue of access to properly managed and patient-focused treatment, but also as a result of an imbalance in research agendas that has left TB practitioners with 100 year old diagnostics and 30 year old therapeutic tools. Reversing this and finding a new, fast-acting cure for TB are integral priorities in both global and local fights against the TB epidemic.

  We are very eager to explore ways to support the work of the House of Lords Subcommittee and wish you the very best in this very important initiative.

January 2003

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