TB is the world’s biggest infectious killer disease, taking the lives of 1.5 million people in 2018. It is preventable and curable; however, we will not be able to end the epidemic without new treatments, vaccines and diagnostics. This means that significant scientific research and development (R&D) is needed to ensure that health systems can tackle diseases such as TB into the future.
Up until now, the UK has been a major contributor to and beneficiary of vital European Union (EU) research and development funding programmes. By pooling funding in this way, more money has been mobilised and research projects are better coordinated than ever before. But now, new EU arrangements for funding R&D for global public health are being negotiated by Member States. Following Brexit, it is not clear how or whether the UK will remain involved in EU-led global health R&D programmes.
With negotiations over trade deals taking centre stage in politics, it’s vital that funding arrangements for global health R&D are not forgotten in the coming months. World TB Day (24 March) is a good moment to let the UK Government know that there is strong public support for its world-leading R&D efforts to continue via a renewed commitment to EU-led research funding mechanisms.