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Research and innovation

The EU's work in tuberculosis research

About 1.5 million people die each year because of tuberculosis (TB) and up to 2 billion people are infected with the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The Commission is investing in TB research with innovative approaches through the EU's framework programmes for research and innovation.

Over €150 million has been awarded to TB research under Horizon 2020, including funds from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials partnership (EDCTP), as well as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

Tuberculosis Factsheet

Priorities for TB research

Due to the special nature of the disease, attention has been given to topics such as

  • the mechanisms of pathogenesis and disease in TB, and the interaction between M. tuberculosis and the human host
  • emergence of multidrug-resistance (MDR-TB) and extensive drug-resistance (XDR-TB)
  • co-infection and co-morbidity in TB

New drugs against TB

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics, is becoming one of the defining problems of our time.

As bacteria become resistant to the drugs that are supposed to kill them, researchers need to find different ways to overcome this problem. Drug resistance is a major issue in TB, due to both the alarming increase of multidrug-resistance (MDR-TB) and the fact that these cases are much harder to treat successfully.

As part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Accelerator has been created in order to progress the development of new medicines to treat resistant bacterial infections in Europe and worldwide. A pillar on TB drug development has been included in this accelerator programme which funds various projects aiming to develop new or improve current TB treatments.

SMEs as well as large pharmaceutical companies play an important role in such projects to enable any new drug candidates to enter clinical trials and eventually reach the market.

Point of care diagnostic tests

In order to be able to control TB efficiently, infection with M. tuberculosis and the drug susceptibility profile of the identified strains needs to be rapidly and accurately determined before choosing the appropriate treatment regimen.

The EU supports projects aimed at developing rapid diagnostic tests for use in clinical practice. Inexpensive and easy to use tests that can also be implemented in resource-poor settings are a priority.

Vaccines

No new vaccines have been introduced to prevent TB for almost 100 years. Development of new improved vaccines for TB is a complicated and time consuming endeavour.

The EU has invested heavily in projects developing novel vaccines. The most promising candidates are already in the phase II or phase III clinical development. Globally, over 50% of the TB vaccine candidates in clinical development had their origin in EU funded projects.

International cooperation is the key to success

TB is a global problem and the responsibility to support research activities should be shared. The EU has built partnerships between its member countries and the global TB research field, and work has been done to integrate European efforts with the global TB research agenda.

Supporting the transfer of drug and vaccine candidates to human clinical trials, and liaising with the EDCTP has enabled further large clinical trials to be undertaken in low- and middle-income countries.

The Commission is committed to continue its support for the development of new effective tools against TB, including vaccines, diagnostics and drugs that are suitable for treating also MDR-TB and XDR-TB.

Funding opportunities

Horizon Europe

Funding for health under the research and innovation framework programme, Horizon Europe. 

Projects and results

EU-funded projects (CORDIS)

Projects in the area of Tuberculosis on the Commission's primary portal for results of EU-funded research projects.

Project success stories

Stories of particularly successful projects in Tuberculosis research.

Horizon Results Platform

Platform where framework programme funding recipients present their results to search, contact their owners and form partnerships.

Collaboration and jobs

Find project partners

Look for project partners and view profiles of all organisations that have received funding via the funding and tender opportunities portal.

European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)

Collaborative effort between European and Sub-Saharan African countries to develop and test promising new medical interventions for a range of poverty-related diseases including tuberculosis.

Jobs (EURAXESS)

Researcher jobs in related fields

Scientific publications, tools and databases

Horizon 2020 dashboard

Interactive reporting platform, composed of a set of sheets that allows series of views to discover and filter Horizon 2020 data.

Scientific publications

Scientific publications produced by the European Commission (JRC)

EU Open Data Portal

Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions. All data free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

OpenAIRE

You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE.