A Timely Reminder of Fauci's Call for a Transformative TB Research Agenda

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What will come of Anthony Fauci’s call for a “transformative” research agenda for tuberculosis, in which doctors and scientists get new resources and support in the search for better drugs and diagnostics to combat this ancient scourge?

Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, delivered that appeal for a more aggressive approach to TB last summer, during the Pacific Health Summit meeting in Seattle on the growing threat of drug-resistant TB. The Pacific Health Summit just issued this report on that meeting, providing a fresh reminder of Fauci’s stirring remarks.

“Why don’t we have 30 new drugs for tuberculosis, a disease that we know is eminently curable?” Fauci asked in an opening speech to leaders at the summit. One reason, he suggested, is that “a transforming research effort has not been evident…we are seeing the winds of change, but what we really need is a storm.”

Part of the reason we might not get that storm is highlighted in this very interesting post on scienceline.org about low TB rates in the U.S. and how they may provide false reassurance that TB is not a real (or close) threat. That item includes a great poster from a 1920s public health campaign against TB–the kind of campaign that Dr. Robin Wood talked about during his visit to Washington last week. Click here and here to read more on that.

That blog item and the Pacific Health Summitt report come just as TB gets some needed attention on Capitol Hill, where a Congressional briefing scheduled for tomorrow will focus on “how U.S. investment in global health research has advanced” the scientific quest for more effective TB treatment strategies. Click here to get more info on that event.

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