Research expenditure barely reached half the target set in 2018 before the Covid outbreak
The world failed completely to meet a target to spend US$2 billion on tuberculosis research in 2022, instead managing only half that, a World Health Organization report has found.
Global TB research expenditure grew from just over US$500 million in 2015 to US$1bn in 2022, according to the WHO’s 2023 tuberculosis report published on 7 November.
However, this falls far short of the US$2bn-per-year target agreed at the first United Nations high-level meeting on TB in 2018.
It also fails to put the world on track to reach its next research spending goal agreed at the second UN high-level meeting on TB in September to increase the annual TB research spend to US$5bn per year by 2027.
In 2022, TB was the second leading cause of death by infectious disease, after Covid-19, the report states. While TB diagnosis and treatment services have recovered from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, progress is “insufficient” to meet global targets, the WHO says.
The report “provides key data and evidence on the status of the TB epidemic and a review of progress”, said Tereza Kasaeva, director of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Programme, in a statement.
“We need all hands on deck to make the vision of ending TB a reality,” she said.
Commenting on the report on X (formerly Twitter), British medical research charity Wellcome said: “Ending the TB epidemic will require much greater funding for research into accessible and affordable solutions—as well as a focus on tackling the growing threat of drug-resistant TB.”