The Gates Foundation commits to financing clinical trials for a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has expressed its intention to finance clinical trials for a tuberculosis vaccine in Africa with the aim of reducing morbidity and mortality associated with the disease. Mark Suzman, the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, announced this commitment during a virtual interview with journalists on Thursday.

Tuberculosis (TB), caused by bacteria and primarily affecting the lungs, is an infectious disease transmitted through the air when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or spit. Suzman highlighted that tuberculosis claims more lives than any other disease, with 1.6 million deaths recorded worldwide in the 2023 report.

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Suzman outlined the foundation’s initiative to fund phase three trials, the final stage before a vaccine is proven effective, focusing on the African continent. He emphasized the philanthropic role in undertaking such initiatives, assuming risks with support from partners like the Wellcome Trust.

While the foundation is actively working on developing new treatments for tuberculosis and malaria, Suzman emphasized that governments, in collaboration with international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria, would play a crucial role in ensuring the distribution of these products to those in need.

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Suzman stressed the unique ability of philanthropy to take risks and address overlooked or underfunded gaps to save lives and enhance well-being. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 10.6 million people worldwide fell ill with tuberculosis in 2022, making it a curable and preventable yet persistently deadly infectious disease affecting all age groups and present in all countries.

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