South Africa is one of only six countries to ever meet their “fair share target” for funding tuberculosis (TB) research, according to a new report. In absolute terms however, South Africa’s contribution is small change compared to investments into TB research made by the top two contributors, the United States government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what the report tells us about investment in TB research in South Africa.
The World Health Organization estimates that over four million of the almost ten million people who fell ill with tuberculosis in 2020 were not diagnosed. One obstacle to more people being diagnosed is the fact that most current tests require people to produce sputum – something children and some people living with HIV find difficult. Tiyese Jeranji looks at a new fingerstick blood test that may help diagnose more people quicker.
In recent months, the world has seen unprecedented investment in new vaccines. Yet, while a COVID-19 vaccine proven to be safe and effective may be less than a year away, a new tuberculosis vaccine might only be ready to be rolled out in a decade, despite a massive head start over COVID-19. Amy Green takes a closer look at the race for a new vaccine for the world’s top infectious disease killer.
In 2018 the United States invested $371 million in tuberculosis research and development (R&D). South Africa invested $4.5 million (R64,9 million) – a dramatic decrease on 2017, but still high when measured as a proportion of all R&D spending in the country.