Written Answers | International Development: Tuberculosis

Posted on: 11th July 2011

Andrew George (St Ives, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics on rates of tuberculosis in developing countries.

Stephen O’Brien (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, International Development; Eddisbury, Conservative)

The contribution of new drugs and technologies on the levels of tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries could be significant, but there are limitations. While most TB patients can be cured with present drug regimens, the 2050 elimination target is far more likely to be achieved with a combination of improved diagnostics, drugs and vaccines that can detect and treat both latent TB infection and active disease. Recent modelling for the WHO has suggested that a combination of a neonatal pre-exposure TB vaccine, a two-month treatment regimen effective against drug-susceptible and resistant strains of TB, and a novel point-of-care diagnostic test could potentially reduce the incidence of TB by 71%. There are however questions remaining about the effect of these in high HIV prevalent areas.