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Gates Foundation Commits $280 Million for Research to Fight Global TB Epidemic
Date:9/18/2007

TB drugs require long and cumbersome regimens, and are losing their effectiveness to rising drug resistance.

"Even in rich countries, efforts to fight TB are severely hampered by the lack of effective tools," said Dr. Peter Small, senior program officer for TB at the Gates Foundation. "Better vaccines, diagnostics, and drugs could dramatically improve the fight against TB, especially in poor countries where large numbers of people are affected by the disease."

Grant to Support TB Vaccine Trials

The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation will use its new grant to conduct Phase I and II trials of up to six TB vaccine candidates, which are expected to involve 8,500 participants in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. The goal is to identify the best TB vaccines for Phase III trials, the final stage of testing before a new vaccine can be licensed for use.

"Over the past few years, scientists have gained important insights into the immune responses needed to protect against TB," said Dr. Jerald Sadoff, president and CEO of Aeras. "We're working as quickly as possible to test promising vaccine candidates that could help turn the tide of TB around the world."

It has been projected that even a partially-effective new TB vaccine could avert more than 30 million deaths worldwide by 2030.

Aeras and its partners have assembled a diverse portfolio of TB vaccine candidates that are ready, or may soon be ready, for clinical trials. Aeras has also helped establish world-class TB research centers in South Africa and India, two of the countries most seriously affected by TB.

"Scientists in Africa and other developing countries are playing a critical role in TB vaccine development," said Dr. Gregory Hussey, director of the South African TB Vaccine Initiative and professor at the University of Cape Town. "An effective vaccine is essential for slowing the spread of TB, and we're proud to be part of the global vaccine effort.
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SOURCE The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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