RESULTS Commends Price Reductions on Improved TB Test to Speed Diagnosis, Save Lives
Washington D.C. — On August 7, 2012, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNITAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an agreement that will significantly reduce the cost of the rapid TB diagnostic test Xpert MTB/RIF (commonly referred to as GeneXpert) in 145 high-burden and developing countries. RESULTS issued the following statement in response:
“GeneXpert is a breakthrough in the fight against TB, but it has to be taken to scale. This collaboration on price reduction by UNITAID, PEPFAR, USAID, and the Bill & Gates Foundation is a critical step to making GeneXpert more accessible to low- and middle-income countries, so that we can see more rapid scale-up.
“Most of the world has been using a TB diagnostic test that’s over 100 years old and is not very effective at diagnosing TB in people living with HIV/AIDS. Yet, GeneXpert’s sophisticated DNA technology is able to accurately detect the disease in people living with HIV/AIDS and delivers results in two hours instead of weeks, including whether or not the TB is drug resistant. While not a point-of-care test, GeneXpert is the quickest and most accurate way to diagnose TB currently available and allows patients to immediately know their status and receive treatment earlier.
“Since one in four AIDS deaths are due to TB, ensuring access to GeneXpert must be a key component of the U.S. government’s new AIDS Free Generation strategy announced by Secretary Hillary Clinton at the International AIDS Conference.
“To fully reap the benefits of this collaboration on price reduction, we must keep our pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which will play a central role in financing this new test. Unfortunately, because of the cancellation of the Global Fund’s most recent round of grant-making, countries such as Malawi have had to delay plans to scale up access to GeneXpert and other TB services, as documented in a recent report from ACTION, The Global Fund: Progress at Risk. Congress must fully fund the Global Fund and the Administration must urge other donors to do the same for this breakthrough technology to reach those most in need.”
RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) are sister organizations that, together, are a leading force in ending poverty in the United States and around the world. We create long-term solutions to poverty by supporting programs that address its root causes — lack of access to medical care, education, or opportunity to move up the economic ladder. We empower ordinary people to become extraordinary voices for the end of poverty in their communities, the media, and the halls of government.