Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Global TB community demands inclusion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the WHO’s Global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery and development of new antibiotics.

Join the Stop TB Partnership in its appeal to the World Health Organization (WHO) to add TB to the Global priority list by signing on a letter to WHO Director General either as an individual or organization. Please send your endorsement to lucicad@stoptb.org and carolinev@stoptb.org by Monday, 6 March 2017, 12.00 CET.


HERE IS THE OPEN LETTER:

2 March 2017

Dear Dr Chan, Dr Ren, Dr Kieny and Dr Inoue,

We are writing to you collectively as global TB community to express our deepest concerns about the exclusion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis within WHO’s first-ever ‘global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery and development of new antibiotics‘, published on 27 February 2017.

While the list is a great initiative to guide us towards a world without resistance to antibiotics, it is outrageous that Mycobacterium tuberculosis was left out of consideration, for the reason that ‘it is already a globally established priority’. In other words, TB was not considered for inclusion in a global priority list, because it is evidently a global priority. This explanation defies reason.

TB’s exclusion sends the false and counterproductive message that drug-resistant TB is not a public health threat. As we are well aware, TB is the world’s leading infectious disease killer and drug-resistant TB is responsible for one-third of all AMR deaths. It also provides the wrong impression that funding for TB R&D has been secured, though we know that the TB R&D funding available represents barely 30% of the needs and has been declining for the least three years.

Dr. Chan, we acknowledge and thank you for the statement on 28 February in which you clearly highlighted that “Addressing drug-resistant TB research is a top priority for WHO and for the world“.

However, we, the undersigned individuals and organizations, demand that you show strong leadership by facilitating the timely review of the Global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery and development of new antibiotics in order to include mycobacterium tuberculosis on it.

This review should be conducted without any further delay to include its findings within the ‘full protocol and results’ to be published on the WHO website no later than end of May 2017.

Sincerely,

Signatories (ongoing, closing Monday, 6 March 2017, 12.00 CET)

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Background:

On 27 February 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a Global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was not included in the list “because it is targeted by other, dedicated programs.” This provoked a strong reaction from the global TB community. Here are the statements of the Stop TB Partnership, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and TB Alliance calling on WHO to add TB to the list. On 28 February 2017, WHO issued a follow-up statement affirming the critical need for R&D of new antibiotics to tackle drug-resistant TB. TB Alliance reacted saying that “this effort, however, should not be separate from efforts to address other drug-resistant pathogens.” On 1 March 2017, The Union reiterated its demand by sending an open letter to WHO, and TBpeople launched a petition.

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