FYI: Tuberculosis

Saturday, March 23, 2013
Stefan H.E. Kaufmann
Published: Saturday 23 March 2013

The Tuberculosis Front

We like tHEALTH_TBo think of TB as a malady of the past. In fact, nine million people develop the active disease every year and one in five will die.

This has been a good decade in the fight against tuberculosis. We are likely to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of cutting TB prevalence and mortality in half by 2015, from 1990 levels. At least a dozen new vaccines and drug candidates are in clinical trials, and the World Health Organization has endorsed a new diagnostic test called the GeneXpert.

This progress is all the more important given the complacency that led to a complete standstill in research and development for new TB interventions toward the end of the twentieth century. The TB drugs currently in use were developed between 1950 and 1970. Indeed, the Bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is almost 100 years old, while the most widely used diagnostic test, microscopic detection of bacilli in sputum, was developed 130 years ago.

No wonder that the efficacy of these tools has weakened. The current vaccine prevents severe TB in infants, but not the most prevalent pulmonary TB in all age groups. The microscopic test gives false results in nearly half of all cases.

Follow Project Syndicate on Facebook or Twitter. For more from Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, click here.

Article Link: http://www.nationofchange.org/tuberculosis-front-1364047475

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: