MHF TOP PICKS FOR DECEMBER
Every month, we at the Mueller Health Foundation like to showcase interesting news and updates in the field of tuberculosis. Below are our top 3 picks for December:
- Researchers Find Promising New Target for TB Treatment
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine, whose findings appeared Nov. 15
in Nature Communications, investigated the role of an Mtb enzyme that
had never been studied in depth before, and discovered that it is crucial
for Mtb’s breakdown of available fatty acids to supply energy and
molecular building blocks for growth and survival. Deleting just that one
enzyme, which they called EtfDMtb, rendered Mtb unable to sustain an
infection in mice.The researchers also plan additional studies to
determine whether EtfDMtb or closely related enzymes could be good
drug targets in other disease-causing bacteria. To learn more, you can
access the full journal article at:
- Tracking the Spread of Tuberculosis in Brazilian Prisons
Over the past several years, Jason Andrews, MD, associate professor of infectious disease, has led a team to investigate the transmission of tuberculosis in Brazilian prisons. The study found that at the time of incarceration, the prevalence of tuberculosis infection is very similar to that of the general population. Less than 10% of people entering prisons have tuberculosis. But every year of incarceration is associated with a 25% to 40% increase in risk of infection, and by the time of their release, incarcerated people are 30 times more likely than those in surrounding communities to have tuberculosis.The increase is likely due to the crowding of up to 40 people per cell and the sharing of beds by as many as three people, the researchers said. Ventilation is also often inadequate, and most prisoners spend nearly all day inside.
DID YOU KNOW?
This month, we would like to highlight some interesting facts related to the funding shortfall in TB research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The total funding for TB research in 2020 was $915 million, which is less than half of the UN goal of 2 billion. This amount has been stagnant since 2018.
- In 2020, TB research received less than 1% of the amount invested in COVID19 research.
- COVID-19 and TB research funding have been treated disproportionately. While COVID-19 approximately killed 2 to 3 times as many people as TB, COVID-19 has received over 100 times more research funding.
- Of the total TB research and development amount, 36% was spent on drug development, 18% on basic science research, 14% on diagnostics, 13% on epidemiology, 13% on vaccines and 6% on infrastructure
- Globally, public sector funding accounted for 70% of overall research and development funds at $641 million.
- Philanthropies were the second largest funding source across the globe, contributing $134 million.
- Private companies and multilateral organizations contributed $89 and $49 million, respectively.
- The Mueller Health Foundation’s committed funds to TB research comprise roughly 4% of the global commitments made by philanthropies in 2020.