Latest advancements in TB science in spotlight
BOBBY RAMAKANT - CNS
We can prevent TB, diagnose TB, treat TB, then why did 1.5 million people die of TB last year?
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Important game-changing scientific advancements in preventing and treating TB (TB or tuberculosis, is among the deadliest of infectious diseases globally), were in spotlight at the recently concluded International Conference on Retroviruses and other Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2022).
If we look at the pace at which new better tools to prevent, diagnose, or treat TB have come in the past decades, it is a deeply painful realisation because despite scientific advancements, the pace of TB research and investment that has gone into it, is way off mark. We still use more than a century old diagnostics, drugs that are too toxic, therapies that are too long and may cause post-treatment disabilities, treatment outcomes that can never be accepted as 'gold standard', and half-heartedly made measly investment promises, continue to hold us back in the fight to #endTB. That is why listening to new TB science updates at CROI 2022 was in particular a ray of hope for me.
Latest TB science updates included those regarding two most historically neglected areas: treatment for drug-susceptible TB (common TB when bacteria is not resistant to medicines) and latent TB (TB prevention). "Advancing TB science is vital because it is TB that is robbing us of gains made in advancing HIV treatment science and rollout. TB is the most common opportunistic infections among people living with HIV and a major cause of untimely deaths among them. In 2020, there were 214,000 deaths from TB among people living with HIV. Even one TB death is a death too many. When TB is preventable, when TB is curable, then how can even one TB death occur in any sane and just society? We have to walk the talk on oft-chanted #EverylifeMatters," said Shobha Shukla, founder of CNS (Citizen News Service) who was on the panel "CROI 2022: Global Advocates Offer Insights and Directions on the Science and Next Steps Needed."
Harry Tembo, Zambia Community Advisory Platform, Zambia; Katie Willingham, The Well Project, United States; Richard Jefferys, Treatment Action Group, United States; Shobha Shukla, CNS, India; and Simon Collins, i-Base and EATG, United Kingdom were among the panelists and session was moderated by HIV prevention research stalwart-advocate Jim Pickett.
Latest advancements in drug-susceptible TB
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