ERA4TB (the European Regimen Accelerator for Tuberculosis) is a 6-year public-private partnership with a total budget of over €200M that began in 2020 with the goal of accelerating the development of new treatment regimens for tuberculosis (TB). As part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, ERA4TB brings together experts from academia and pharma, led by Stewart Cole (Institut Pasteur) and David Barros-Aguirre (GlaxoSmithKline). The project coordinator is Juan José Vaquero (University Carlos III Madrid) and three members of the Institut Pasteur International Network are among the 30 ERA4TB partners: the Institut Pasteur (Paris), the Institut Pasteur de Lille and Sciensano (Brussels). On March 24, World Tuberculosis Day, Stewart Cole says that TB control has been severely impacted by COVID-19 but ERA4TB will help make a difference.
All Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) have committed to the goal of ending the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by 2030 through their unanimous endorsement of WHO’s End TB Strategy at the World Health Assembly and their adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The commitment of the European Commission and the private sector (through the EFPIA companies in the EU), with the support of Associated Partners as key players in TB research, to overcome this global challenge is materialized through the ERA4TB Consortium.
On March 24th, World TB Day, Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur, stated that “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, TB control was making progress towards the sustainable development goals but, according to WHO, COVID-19 has set back TB control by 8 years!”. In 2020, COVID-19 overtook TB as the leading cause of human death due to a single infectious agent. Cole also said that “Governments have learned that Emerging Infectious Diseases like COVID-19 must no longer be neglected but policy makers must not forget that TB is a greater long-term threat than COVID-19 and need to plan accordingly. ERA4TB is an important part of the plan.” Since it first appeared, TB has claimed an estimated 1 billion lives around the world and, as recently as 70 years ago, was a leading cause of death in Europe. Today, TB remains highly prevalent in developing countries.
Video 'Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Tuberculosis Research' by Stewart Cole (Institut Pasteur, Paris) recorded at the recent ERA4TB meeting.
The ERA4TB consortium aims to reduce the time required for the development of new tuberculosis treatment regimens.
The ERA4TB initiative is revolutionizing the way in which tuberculosis treatments are developed thanks to its parallel, multi-entry pipeline structure, analogous to a production line. This structure enables the efficacy of several drug candidates and drug combinations to be investigated simultaneously while allowing new molecules to enter the project pipeline at the research stage depending to the degree of knowledge previously available.
With this approach, the ERA4TB consortium expects to reduce the time required for the development of new tuberculosis treatment regimens by up to a quarter.
The ERA4TB initiative integrates more than thirty organizations from the European Union and the United States among which are the main global actors in the fight against tuberculosis infection (see ERA4TB website for more information).
ERA4TB has started in 2020 and will last six years, at the end of which, the consortium expects to have developed at least two or more new combination regimens with treatment-shortening potential ready for Phase II clinical evaluation. The partners intend to maintain the ERA4TB platform active beyond the project official duration.
This study is part of the priority scientific area Emerging infectious diseases of the Institut Pasteur's strategic plan for 2019-2023.