This year’s World TB Day theme, from the Stop TB Partnership, is “Yes! We Can End TB”. It is a theme that brings hope and highlights the exceptional work being done all over the world to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and get TB eradication back on track.
Yes! We Can End TB by ensuring the same kind of funding and actions for the development of new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines as we did for COVID-19
Yes! We Can End TB by scaling up TB infection testing and preventive treatment, prioritising contacts and other eligible groups of people
Yes! We Can End TB by investing $5 billion annually to accelerate the R&D of new diagnostics, medicines and vaccines
3 years on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is there still an impact on TB and how is that affecting our ability to end TB?
DR. JAMES UTLEY, CHIEF SCIENTIST AT MDX LABS, USA
“It’s quite possible COVID may have had an impact on the willingness of the public to be concerned about public health issues. Controversies over mask-wearing, public health precautions and the general disruptions to the ‘normal’ routine are still fresh in the mind of many. This likely has an impact on the willingness of the public to accept the perceived threat of TB and the accommodations or precautions they are willing to entertain to stop the spread of the disease.”
DR JULIANI DEWI SP.PK, CLINICAL PATHOLOGIST LAB DIRECTOR, RAMPAL DIAGNOSTIKA, INDONESIA
“The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed our healthcare resources tremendously in Indonesia. We needed to formulate new policies, introduced new tools, built new facilities, and developed new reagents to respond to the pandemic. We had diverted our resources and attending from TB to managing the pandemic. If not, we would have been more successful in managing the TB epidemic by now.”
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JACKRAPONG BRUMINHENT, MD, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, FACULTY OF MEDICINE RAMATHIBODI HOSPITAL IN BANGKOK, THAILAND
“We are seeing growing cases of COVID-TB co-infection. We have not fully understood the immune-pathological interaction between these two diseases and the drivers of dual COVID-19 and TB disease mortality. It is critical that we put a lid on this ‘cursed duet’ especially in TB endemic countries where incidences of latent TB infection are high. Case finding, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of latent TB is now paramount to reversing the TB prevalence.”
What changes or improvements in TB testing, treatment or care would you like to see that would help to tackle TB?
DR. JAMES UTLEY, CHIEF SCIENTIST AT MDX LABS, USA
“To truly eradicate the disease, every health care provider should be talking to patients about TB. There should be a screening protocol that every patient goes through with their doctor to bring greater awareness of the disease and to screen for possible symptoms. In addition, taking a TB test should be as easy and available as taking someone’s temperature and often, the follow on care needed to manage TB cases is not available especially to those who need it the most.”
DR KIM CHANG-KI, DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY MEDICINE, SEOUL CLINICAL LABORATORIES, SOUTH KOREA.
“South Korea is setting a bold goal of reducing the number of TB cases to 20/100,000 people in the next five years. These are not easy targets. Preventing TB through latent TB infection control is critical for us to achieving these new targets. We are implementing latent TB control initiatives according to risk of TB infection and progression.”
PROFESSOR WANG LINGHANG, MD, PHD, DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OF INFECTION, BEIJING DITAN HOSPITAL, CAPITAL MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, CHINA.
“In TB prevention and control, we ought to focus on strengthening the detection of TB. By extending TB screening through using more sensitive diagnostics, we can better detect TB patients who are at risk of transmission within their families and community. At the same time, we can remove the risk of transmission by detecting those who have latent TB infection to prevent the reactivation of latent to active TB.”
PROFESSOR GAO LEI,RESEARCHER, INSTITUTE OF PATHOGEN BIOLOGY, CHINESE ACADEMY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES, CHINA.
“If we want to use preventative treatment as a tool to further drive down the incidence of tuberculosis and to help us achieve the End TB targets, we need to further improve the preventative treatment program to suit our national situation, to ensure that resources are adequately available. Any preventative program will need to cover all key infected populations in the community. We need to reach out to the most important populations in the community with latent TB infection. This will further help us achieve the goal of reducing community transmission.”
According to the World Health Organization, 66 million lives have been saved by global efforts to #EndTB
This is Tenzin’s story
On this World TB Day, we honor TB survivors by amplifying their personal stories and echoing the call worldwide for early and accurate TB diagnosis.
Now that his TB experiences are behind him, Tenzin shares his story to help raise awareness about TB to address stigma.
It’s not just a test, it’s a moment of truth for TB
1. World Health Organization. Global tuberculosis report 2022.
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