European Parliament gives top priority to tuberculosis research
At its session in early February, the European Parliament decided to give top priority to tuberculosis research within the scope of European research and health policy.
Increasing numbers of tuberculosis patients, a growing number of multi-resistant strains of the pathogen, and a lack of new vaccines and drugs – in view of the current situation, the goal that some scientists have set themselves for eliminating tuberculosis by 2050 would appear to be extremely ambitious.
The European Union is now aiming to give top priority to tuberculosis research. At its session in early February, the European Parliament adopted the proposal of the TuBerculosis Vaccination Initiative (TBVI) and confirmed tuberculosis research as the top priority in European research and health policy. “This represents a significant success for tuberculosis vaccine research in Europe. Now that the Parliament has made such a clear statement, we hope that the European Commission will support us by providing urgently needed funding for vaccine studies,” says Stefan Kaufmann from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin.
In 2007 and 2008, approximately 500 million euros was available globally for tuberculosis research, of which less than one-fifth was provided for the development of vaccines – considerably less than the estimated two billion euros that will be needed annually for vaccine research in the decade to come. Tuberculosis researchers are therefore increasingly reliant on funding from private donors. It is hoped that non-profit foundations will provide further funding in addition to the public sector and industry.