EU leaders call for funding to end TB threat

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Leaders from the governments of France and the Netherlands are calling for increased investment in new treatment and prevention tools against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).

Speaking at a high-level meeting in Europe on Monday, Michèle Boccoz from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, said: “Because of drug resistance, TB is evolving to become an untreatable disease for a growing number of people.” He said investing in research and development now will ensure that the drugs and vaccines are at hand to eventually end the threat of TB as a health problem in Europe.

While TB rates in the EU are relatively low, the disease persists in every country. The WHO European region has the highest rates of drug-resistant TB in the world. The AMR Review, a global study of antibiotic resistance data, has estimated that drug-resistant TB could be responsible for 2.5 million deaths annually by 2050.

Mr Boccoz was addressing the ‘TB and European Health Security: The critical role of TB R&D in the context of antimicrobial resistance’ meeting, which was hosted by the Dutch and French governments, and organised by the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative, TB Alliance, and Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung, a global development NGO.