World TB Day: NIAID expands tuberculosis clinical trial capacity

In order to streamline tuberculosis drug research, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has begun using established HIV/AIDS networks to conduct clinical TB drug research.

"We have integrated very carefully and clearly into our HIV network the expanded capability of doing TB agenda trials, new sites, as well as global TB expansion," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, said on Monday during a World TB Day presentation.

Fauci first announced the possibility of sharing HIV/AIDS clinical trial capacity at the 2009 Pacific Health Summit in Seattle. HIV and TB are, respectively, the first and second largest killers in the world, and TB is the world's leading killer of people with AIDS.

"It was only with the emergence of HIV and the co-infections of HIV and TB, that there was a reinvigoration of interest in TB in the developed world," Fauci said.

Both HIV and TB remain relatively rare in the developed world, but are highly prevalent in the developing world where medical research faces substantial challenges. Due to substandard facilities and equipment, the capacity to implement TB clinical trials has been traditionally inadequate in those places where disease prevalence is greatest.