Access to TB Testing and Treatments: GeneXpert and Delamanid
Despite being curable, tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. In 2022, an estimated 1.3 million people died—more than two people every minute—and 10.6 million people fell ill with TB. This includes 410,000 people who fell ill with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB).
Much-needed technological breakthroughs in TB testing and treatment over the last decade promise to change this dismal picture. Rapid molecular tests such as Cepheid’s GeneXpert can deliver highly accurate diagnosis of TB and DR-TB in two hours, and the introduction of new medicines has paved the way for all-oral, shorter, more effective, safer regimens. However, the promise of these lifesaving new TB tests and medicines has been kept in check by price and patent barriers.
This report offers case studies of two critical TB tools, GeneXpert and delamanid, and outlines actions that the corporations making them, Cepheid/Danaher and Otsuka, respectively, need to take to unlock access to these revolutionary, lifesaving medical tools. Broader access to these two tools, together with other new prevention, testing and treatment options, will enable governments and TB treatment providers like Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to prevent many more TB deaths and tackle TB epidemics worldwide.