DriveDx4TB: accelerating the introduction of novel TB diagnostics

What is this project?

The Drive Diagnostics for Tuberculosis (DriveDx4TB) project is harnessing the power of collaboration to increase TB testing options in primary care clinics and community settings. By working with local communities, as well as manufacturers, in-country partners and the global health organization Unitaid, DriveDx4TB aims to accelerate the development and implementation of next-generation TB diagnostics – enabling people to be rapidly diagnosed and connected to the care they need.

Why are we working on it?

Despite medical advancements, TB remains a major global health problem. In 2021, an estimated 10.6 million people contracted the disease, with over 4.2 million going undiagnosed (WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2022). In the same year, TB claimed the lives of an estimated 1.6 million people worldwide.

According to recent estimates (cite Global TB report 2022), approximately 20% of TB patients are diagnosed with a molecular WHO-recommended rapid diagnostic (mWRD). Additionally, most tests rely on sputum samples, which can be difficult and uncomfortable to obtain, especially for children and people living with HIV. DriveDx4TB is designed to generate evidence and support policy recommendations for new tools and alternative sampling methods that can help expand access to testing and aid efforts to end TB globally.

What does it involve?

To ensure a person-centric approach, FIND is engaging with communities and individuals affected by TB, including through a values and preferences study.

FIND has also been working on the selection of new technologies that have the potential to facilitate TB testing and, in collaboration with partners, they will evaluate them. Three classes of technology will be evaluated along with alternative sampling techniques, these include:

  • Point-of-care (POC)
  • Near-POC
  • Low complexity

Improving access to TB diagnostics

Improving access to CGMS for people living with diabetes in LMICs
What do we expect to achieve?

DriveDx4TB will accelerate the introduction of new TB diagnostics and address the barriers associated with current tests. Beginning with the four pathfinder countries, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and South Africa, the project is designed to create conditions for sustainable, equitable access to TB testing and to maximize the adoption of these new diagnostics.

Rapid testing will enable people to access treatment quickly, which will help to curb the spread of the disease. Not only will this reduce the number of people who contract TB each year, but it will limit the economic impact on both individuals and healthcare systems around the world.

What is the timescale?

The project was initiated in 2022 and will run for four years. During this period evidence will be gathered in India, Indonesia, Kenya, and South Africa to help support the development of global policies.

Partners and funding

The DriveDx4TB project is funded by Unitaid through a grant to FIND.

FIND will work with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), a complementary grantee within the same Unitaid investment portfolio, to evaluate new products identified in DriveDx4TB, so that they may be optimized for introduction in project geographies.

Local community and civil society organizations in the four pathfinder countries will also be crucial to the success of this project. As well as being essential to generating evidence, engaging directly with local partners will ensure a people-centric approach that will help the countries to prepare for the adoption of new policies and diagnostic strategies.

More information

Collaboration agreement unveiled between SMART4TB, DriveDx4TB, FEND-TB and the R2D2 TB Network, representing the largest-ever coordinated effort to accelerate TB diagnostic development.