Hopkins-led international team will use backing to progress clinical development.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a Johns Hopkins-based consortium $32 million to support the control of HIV-related tuberculosis and treat the dual epidemics in hardest-hit countries.

This funding to the Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic, or CREATE, complements the $44.7 million previously received from the Gates Foundation in 2004 to start the initiative. More than 250 researchers and dozens of health policy experts in Africa, South America, Europe, and the U.S. are part of the effort.

CREATE currently sponsors three clinical trials in South Africa, Brazil, and Zambia that are assessing the use of antibiotic therapy to prevent TB. The studies are also evaluating whether screening people for the disease can be used to prevent its spread in communities where HIV is epidemic.

The financing comes at “a pivotal juncture, just as our team’s research is making serious progress,” in finding drug therapies that prevent people from becoming infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the first place, says Johns Hopkins infectious disease specialist Richard Chaisson, M.D., who leads CREATE.

The group reported preliminary findings from the Rio de Janeiro study that suggests that antiretroviral therapy with isoniazid could prevent active TB disease in people co-infected with HIV and TB. The combination reduced the risk of developing TB disease by 80%. Isoniazid by itself, on the other hand, reduced the frequency by 32%, and active antiretroviral therapy decreased risk by 51%.

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