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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/3/21

Will new scientific breakthroughs spur the #endTB efforts?

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Shobha Shukla - CNS

Will new and better tools to diagnose and treat TB pivot the fight to end TB?
Will new and better tools to diagnose and treat TB pivot the fight to end TB?
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Is it not a paradox if a preventable, diagnosable, treatable, and curable disease becomes a top killer? Till Covid-19 struck our world, Tuberculosis (TB) - a disease that can be prevented, diagnosed and treated - was the most deadly infectious disease worldwide. Covid-19 pandemic has also adversely impacted the fight against TB, as well as other diseases. Not surprisingly, the latest Global TB Report 2021 paints a grim picture of the TB disease burden, with the Covid-19 pandemic acting spoilsport and further jeopardising the progress on all fronts of TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and control.

Despite growing efforts spanning over several decades, most of the world was not able to satisfactorily prevent TB, prevent conversion of latent TB into active TB disease, diagnose the disease timely or put all those diagnosed on effective standard treatments - and most importantly, avert untimely deaths.

Why are we off-track on most TB targets?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, another global health threat that has become even more severe is of TB. We are off-track on most of the global TB targets, such as the goal to end TB by 2030 that is enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or the targets of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s End TB Strategy, or promises made in the 2018 Political Declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on TB.

We missed to deliver on TB promises for 2020

The End TB Strategy milestones for 2015-2020 aimed at a 35% reduction in the number of TB deaths and a 20% reduction in the TB incidence. However, TB deaths and incidence have reduced by only 9.2% and 11% respectively during this period. The negative impacts on TB mortality and TB incidence in 2020 are expected to become much worse in 2021 and beyond.

Will new better tools to diagnose and treat TB, zoom us towards #endTB targets?

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