The in Tucson, Arizona, has announced a three-year, $3 million grant from the to catalog genomic data from tuberculosis strains around the world, with the goal of streamlining diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
The institute will use the funds to develop the Rapid Drug Susceptibility Test Data Platform, which, when completed, will aggregate genome data on various TB strains — information that currently is scattered in data repositories around the world — and combine them with phenotypic data related to drug susceptibility and patient outcomes to accelerate the development of diagnostic tests. "To create the kinds of tests essential to the effective deployment of novel tuberculosis treatments," said C-Path president and CEO Martha Brumfield, "we need a singular data resource that encompasses global resistance trends and markers for resistance that come directly from patients with tuberculosis and their caregivers."
The initiative, co-founded by C-Path, the Gates Foundation, and the , will partner with , the , the , the , and the in compiling the data required to quickly diagnose the specific type of resistant TB present in a patient and help determine the most effective treatment regimen for each patient.
"There are a great many different strains of tuberculosis, and diagnosing the specific strain and developing a treatment regimen is currently a time-consuming undertaking," said Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Global Tuberculosis Programme. "With this global partnership in place, a great need is being addressed by putting existing data from around the world to work in developing the fastest and best diagnostic tools to help the patients suffering from the scourge of tuberculosis — which remains an urgent public health threat that kills 1.5 million people each year."