SMART4TB Declares 2023 A Pivotal Year for Global Commitments To Ending Tuberculosis

Consortium is working with global partners on diagnostic, therapeutic, vaccine, and operational research to improve TB care and outcomes for affected communities 

BALTIMORE, March 24, 2023 — Supporting, Mobilizing, and Accelerating Research to Eliminate Tuberculosis (SMART4TB), an initiative made possible by the generosity of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), commemorates World TB Day by calling for renewed commitments to ending the tuberculosis epidemic. Over 1.6 million people die across the globe each year from this preventable, curable disease.

 “The global SMART4TB consortium aims to transform tuberculosis (TB) prevention and care, thanks to a historic multi-year investment from the U.S. Agency for International Development,” said Dr. Richard Chaisson, Chief of Party for SMART4TB and Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and International Health at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Through innovative, person-centered research geared toward changing TB policy, we aspire to reverse the setbacks the COVID-19 pandemic made to progress against TB and catalyze the end to TB.”

SMART4TB will spend the next five years engaged in community-informed diagnostic and therapeutic clinical research, vaccine preparedness, and other operational research, as well as policy translation to transform the TB response. Dr. Payam Nahid, Senior Research Advisor at SMART4TB, Professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco, and Director of the UCSF Center for Tuberculosis, stressed the significance of research in meeting global TB targets, “Each year, nearly 4 million people with TB go undiagnosed. Developing new tests that are fast and accurate and can effectively diagnose patients quickly and at their point of care, can get patients diagnosed and treated faster, and help programs stop transmission earlier.”

Investing in and developing a comprehensive approach to TB pediatric studies and treatment for pregnant people is a key area of focus across SMART4TB research. “Due to lack of research, children and pregnant people are often still subjected to more toxic, longer, and less effective TB treatment. We must close the gaps in care, starting with ensuring that these populations are included in treatment, prevention, and diagnostic research from the outset,” said Nilesh Bhatt, SMART4TB Partner Lead and Global Clinical Research Director at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

As SMART4TB evolves, collaboration with partners in high-burden countries on capacity strengthening and operational research is central to the consortium’s approach. “SMART4TB wants to produce research and policy guidance that is driven by local leadership,” said Dr. Mustapha Gidado, Executive Director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. “By developing operational goals and research plans in partnership with health ministries, and community leaders, we intend to sustain the impact of our research far beyond the life of this project.”

SMART4TB will also work at the global level, infusing the perspective of TB-affected communities, to leverage critical moments such as the G20 Summit and the United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in September for the resources and political will needed to end TB. “The commitments that nations make now can give us the kind of profound change that TB-affected communities are demanding,” said Lindsay McKenna, SMART4TB Partner Lead and TB Project Co-Director at Treatment Action Group. “This includes investments in developing and implementing shorter, more effective treatment regimens; new diagnostic tools; and a new, more efficacious vaccine, and provisions to ensure they are affordable and equitably accessible.”


The SMART4TB Consortium brings together experts in TB tools development, implementation science, capacity strengthening, civil society engagement, and policy translation. Led by Johns Hopkins University, consortium members include University of California, San Francisco, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, and Treatment Action Group. SMART4TB is a cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), made possible by the generosity of the American people.The findings in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.