The EU's work in tuberculosis research

About 1.5 million people die each year because of tuberculosis (TB) and up to 2 billion people are infected with the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The Commission is investing in TB research with innovative approaches through the EU's framework programmes for research and innovation. The EU invested a total of €118 million in 50 TB projects under the Seventh Research and Innnovation Framework Progamme (FP7)

Under Horizon 2020, projects are delivering new tools and strategies to combat TB, including

  • rapid and sensitive point-of-care diagnostic tests
  • more effective regimens for the treatment of TB and latent TB infection
  • new safe and effective vaccine candidate

Over €150 million has been awarded to TB research under Horizon 2020, including funds from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials partnership (EDCTP), as well as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

Tuberculosis Factsheet

Priorities for TB research

Due to the special nature of the disease, attention has been given to topics such as

  • the mechanisms of pathogenesis and disease in TB, and the interaction between M. tuberculosis and the human host
  • emergence of multidrug-resistance (MDR-TB) and extensive drug-resistance (XDR-TB)
  • co-infection and co-morbidity in TB

New drugs against TB

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics, is becoming one of the defining problems of our time.

As bacteria become resistant to the drugs that are supposed to kill them, researchers need to find different ways to overcome this problem. Drug resistance is a major issue in TB, due to both the alarming increase of multidrug-resistance (MDR-TB) and the fact that these cases are much harder to treat successfully.

As part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Accelerator has been created in order to progress the development of new medicines to treat resistant bacterial infections in Europe and worldwide. A pillar on TB drug development has been included in this accelerator programme which funds various projects aiming to develop new or improve current TB treatments.

SMEs as well as large pharmaceutical companies play an important role in such projects to enable any new drug candidates to enter clinical trials and eventually reach the market.

Point of care diagnostic tests

In order to be able to control TB efficiently, infection with M. tuberculosis and the drug susceptibility profile of the identified strains needs to be rapidly and accurately determined before choosing the appropriate treatment regimen.

The EU supports projects aimed at developing rapid diagnostic tests for use in clinical practice. Inexpensive and easy to use tests that can also be implemented in resource-poor settings are a priority.


No new vaccines have been introduced to prevent TB for almost 100 years. Development of new improved vaccines for TB is a complicated and time consuming endeavour.

The EU has invested heavily in projects developing novel vaccines. The most promising candidates are already in the phase II or phase III clinical development. Globally, over 50% of the TB vaccine candidates in clinical development had their origin in EU funded projects.

International cooperation is the key to success

TB is a global problem and the responsibility to support research activities should be shared. The EU has built partnerships between its member countries and the global TB research field, and work has been done to integrate European efforts with the global TB research agenda.

Supporting the transfer of drug and vaccine candidates to human clinical trials, and liaising with the EDCTP has enabled further large clinical trials to be undertaken in low- and middle-income countries.

The Commission is committed to continue its support for the development of new effective tools against TB, including vaccines, diagnostics and drugs that are suitable for treating also MDR-TB and XDR-TB.

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon 2020

    Funding for health under the research and innovation framework programme, Horizon 2020. 

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

  • EU-funded projects (CORDIS)

    Projects in the area of Tuberculosis on the Commission's primary portal for results of EU-funded research projects.

  • Project success stories

    Stories of particularly successful projects in Tuberculosis research.

  • Horizon Results Platform

    Platform where framework programme funding recipients present their results to search, contact their owners and form partnerships.

Scientific publications, tools and databases

  • Horizon 2020 dashboard

    Interactive reporting platform, composed of a set of sheets that allows series of views to discover and filter Horizon 2020 data.

  • Scientific publications

    Scientific publications produced by the European Commission (JRC)

  • EU Open Data Portal

    Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions. All data free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

  • OpenAIRE

    You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE.


  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

  • European IP Helpdesk

    Service that offers an intellectual property rights helpline, training and online library.

  • Enterprise Europe Network

    The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. 

Related Commission departments