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New Research Investments, Political Will Critical To Addressing TB

Scientific American: Stopping the World’s Biggest Infectious Killer
Madhukar Pai, Canada Research Chair in epidemiology and global health at McGill University

“Diseases that have plagued humanity since ancient times continue to hold billions of people back, and tuberculosis is one of the most significant among them. … While training as a doctor in India, where TB is more prevalent than in any other country, I saw first-hand its devastating impact on individuals, families, and entire communities. Since my time as a medical trainee, I have been encouraged to see modest progress. … Yet one of the most frustrating challenges in the TB epidemic perseveres: the lack of adequate 21st-century tools to fight what’s now a 21st-century epidemic. Despite recent scientific advancements for many diseases, patients and care providers continue to rely on antiquated, inefficient diagnostics, vaccines, and drug regimens. This is unacceptable. … New research investments will be critical to fill these gaps. … Fortunately, there has never been more momentum than there is today, with virtually unanimous agreement on the massive potential of R&D to change the game for infectious disease. This is largely because we have seen it work: from the Ebola vaccine to antiretroviral therapy for HIV to bed nets to prevent transmission of malaria. Moreover, governments around the world have committed to providing significantly more funding by 2022 for TB R&D, signaling growing political will. Now is the time to science the [expletive] out of TB and hold government leaders accountable to their commitments” (2/11)