[Ip-health] UNITAID APPROVES US$ 30 MILLION FOR INNOVATIVE PROJECT TO ROLL OUT GROUND-BREAKING TUBERCULOSIS TEST AT REDUCED COST

UNITAID Communication unitaidcommunication at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 12:53:30 PDT 2012


*UNITAID APPROVES US$ 30 MILLION FOR INNOVATIVE PROJECT TO ROLL OUT
GROUND-BREAKING TUBERCULOSIS TEST AT REDUCED COST*



*Geneva 13 June 2012* - The executive board of UNITAID today approved
funding of US$ 30 million to scale up access to a new diagnostic test for
tuberculosis, Xpert MTB/RIF, and reduce the cost of its use.

The Xpert assay represents a major advance for the diagnosis of
tuberculosis, as it is based on the recognition of the DNA of the
tuberculosis bacillus and provides dependable results directly from sputum
samples in less than 2 hours. This method of diagnosis is much more
reliable than microscopy, currently used in most laboratories. In addition,
Xpert also detects resistance to rifampicin, one of the most commonly used
drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis.

Through the agreement reached by UNITAID, the United States Government and
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the manufacturer of Xpert, Cepheid,
will significantly reduce the price of diagnostic cartridges from today’s
$17 to less than $10.

This price reduction will allow an accelerated roll-out of the test, which
was endorsed by the World Health Organization in December 2010. It will
apply to more than 145 purchasers in low- and middle-income countries,
including those with high-burden of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and
co-infection of HIV and tuberculosis.

Xpert will be rolled-out in around 20 countries, under the leadership of
WHO and the Stop TB Partnership, which will administer the UNITAID grant.
In addition, the "TB REACH" initiative of the Stop TB Partnership,
supported by the Canadian Government, will co-fund up to US$ 10 million the
implementation of the tests in countries, drawing upon its experiences
gained so far in the early introduction of the test in selected countries.

Xpert, once introduced and widely scaled-up, is expected to dramatically
reduce the diagnostic gaps for tuberculosis, in particular in its
multi-drug resistant form, or associated with an HIV infection.

However, this diagnostic breakthrough will only trigger a reduction of the
burden of tuberculosis if the new cases it will identify will receive an
appropriate treatment. Governments and donors will need to identify
sufficient funding for this purpose in the coming years.



http://www.unitaid.eu/resources/news/releases/943-unitaid-approves-us-30-million-for-innovative-project-to-roll-out-ground-breaking-tuberculosis-test-at-reduced-cost



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For more information, kindly see our website at www.unitaid.eu or email us
at unitaid at who.int.



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