Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant Awarded to Johns Hopkins To Explore Novel Interventions to Control HIV-Related Tuberculosis

SEATTLE and BALTIMORE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute $3 million to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for the development of community-based preventive strategies to control tuberculosis (TB) in areas around the world with severe HIV epidemics. The grant will support the Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS-Tuberculosis Epidemic (CREATE), a global initiative to combat the skyrocketing rates of sickness and death caused by these diseases.

"It is increasingly apparent that the HIV epidemic is rapidly undermining all existing methods of controlling TB," said Richard E. Chaisson, MD, professor of medicine, epidemiology and international health at Johns Hopkins and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research. "CREATE will focus on developing innovative and effective public health strategies for controlling HIV-related TB."

"Because HIV increases the rate of active TB, it is important to address their co-infection," said Helene Gayle, director, HIV/AIDS & TB for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Johns Hopkins is doing valuable work, driving the collaboration of scientists and field workers to develop new methods of controlling TB where HIV infection rates are high. These methods could ultimately serve as models for combating HIV/TB co-infection worldwide."

Strategies used by CREATE to control TB will involve entire communities in finding and treating undiagnosed TB cases in areas where rates of TB and HIV infection are soaring. In addition to assessing innovative approaches to control TB, CREATE will also evaluate the impact of HIV therapy on TB rates. The strategies will complement the World Health Organization DOTS strategy (Directly Observed Therapy, Short Course), which is based on passive detection of active TB cases.

Nearly 2 million people died from TB in 2000 alone, making TB the world's second leading killer among infectious diseases. More than 50 million people have been infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic, and there are an estimated 40 million people living with HIV infection today, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization estimates that one-quarter of all TB deaths occur in people with HIV and more than 10 million people with HIV infection died of TB in the 1990s.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of approximately $24 billion.

Johns Hopkins is one of the world's premier centers for scholarship, research and patient care. The university and The Johns Hopkins Health System are separate, but closely allied, institutions. Founded in Baltimore, they now reach across the Baltimore-Washington area, with additional facilities in China, Italy and Singapore and partnerships around the world. The university comprises eight schools, a research and development division called the Applied Physics Laboratory and a number of institutes and centers.

Source: PRNewswire