National Public Radio correspondent Brenda Wilson asked the panel why the government could not provide substantial new funding for TB drugs and diagnostics. Referring to discussions at this week’s World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva, she said others have suggested that we have the tools we need to fight TB and the problem is inadequate resources to make those tools widely available.
NIH’s Fauci agreed that there are a lot of drugs for TB but the options become depleted when dealing with multiple or drug-resistant strains of the disease. “The one thing we need is a pipeline of new drugs,” said Fauci. He called it a “disgrace” that there hasn’t been a new drug for TB in decades. The diagnostics available right now are less than 50 percent specific and not particularly sensitive, he added. “We are decades behind” in the development of diagnostics and drugs for TB, Fauci admitted.