Despite the clear need for radically improved methods of diagnosing TB, little progress has been made for those providing TB care in resource limited, high burden countries. Specifically, R&D efforts have failed to target the area where need is greatest: the peripheral level of the health care system where the majority of patients are seen.
Medecins Sans Frontieres therefore called this two-day meeting along with its partners, Treatment Action Group and Partners in Health, to find consensus over the minimum technical test specifications that must drive the development of any new tests for use at the point-of-care (PoC).
The meeting built on several earlier events including:
- TAG-ARASA expert meeting held in April 2008 in Cambridge entitled “Developing an Agenda for Expediting Development of Point-of-Care Assays for Diagnosing Active TB in Resource-Poor Settings"
- MSF meeting in Geneva, April 2008, entitled “Financing Medical Innovation Through Alternative Mechanisms”
- KEI's meeting in Geneva in January 2009 called "Designing Innovation Inducement Prizes for Chagas and TB"
- The proposal put forward by Bolivia and Barbados at the 2008 World Health Assembly entitled “Prize Fund for Development of Low-Cost Rapid Diagnostic Test for Tuberculosis”.
This “Expert Meeting” was a closed meeting composed of over 30 participants and represented different groups including test developers, clinicians and laboratory experts.
The objective was to achieve an agreement on an appropriate set of specifications that meets medical needs and that are or will soon be technologically feasible.
Based on the medical needs seen in TB-care practices in low-resources settings as well as the current scientific knowledge, recent discoveries and coming innovations, all groups actively contributed to open discussions around the test specifications.