Sunday February 17, 2019

Tuberculosis To Stay on Top in The List of World’s Most Infectious Diseases: WHO

Treatment coverage, at 64 percent, also lags behind and must increase to at least 90 percent by 2025 to meet the targets of ending TB by 2030

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WHO
WHO vows tighter, broader action against tobacco, industry interference.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease although global efforts have averted an estimated 54 million tuberculosis (TB) deaths since 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday.

WHO, in its latest 2018 Global TB Report, says countries are still not doing enough to end TB by 2030 and calls for an unprecedented mobilization of national and international commitments. It urges for decisive action from nearly 50 heads of state and government who are expected to gather next week for the first-ever UN High-level Meeting on TB, Xinhua news agency reported.

The report finds that overall, TB deaths have decreased over the past year, with an estimated 10 million people having developed TB and 1.6 million deaths, including among 300,000 HIV-positive people, in 2017. The number of new cases is falling by two percent per year.

However, underreporting and under-diagnosis of TB cases remains a major challenge. Of the 10 million people who fell ill with TB in 2017, only 6.4 million were officially recorded by national reporting systems, leaving 3.6 million people undiagnosed, or detected but not reported.

Ten countries accounted for 80 percent of this gap, according to the report, with India, Indonesia and Nigeria topping the list. Less than half of the estimated one million children with TB were reported in 2017, making it a much higher gap in detection than that in adults.

Treatment coverage, at 64 percent, also lags behind and must increase to at least 90 percent by 2025 to meet the targets of ending TB by 2030.

To urgently improve detection, diagnosis and treatment rates, the WHO and partners launched a new initiative in 2018 to set the target of providing quality care to 40 million people with TB from 2018 to 2022, while predicting that at least 30 million people should be able to access TB preventive treatment during the period.

The WHO strongly recommends preventive treatment for people living with HIV, and children under five years living in households with TB, and has issued related new guidance this year to facilitate greater access to preventive services for those who need it.

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Next week’s UN High-Level Meeting on TB is critical and the WHO, while calling for the health sector to address the risk factors and determinants of the disease, is particularly pushing for commitments at the level of heads of state to galvanize multi-sectoral action.

“We have never seen such high-level political attention and understanding of what the world needs to do to end TB and drug-resistant TB,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We must ensure that we hold our leaders accountable for the actions they promise to take. And we must hold ourselves accountable for keeping the pressure on.” (IANS)

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Novel Drug May Shorten Treatment Duration For Tuberculosis

Despite significant progress in combating tuberculosis, it remains the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, he said

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A new experimental antibiotic for tuberculosis (TB) has been shown to be more effective against TB than Isoniazid, a decades old drug which is currently one of the standard treatment for the disease, finds a study on mice.

The new drug, called AN12855, has several advantages over Isoniazid as Isoniazid requires conversion to its active form by a Mycobacterial enzyme, KatG, in order to kill the pathogen, which creates some problems.

In some M. tuberculosis, KatG is nonfunctional. That does not make M. tuberculosis any less pathogenic, but it prevents the drug from working. Consequently, this creates an easy avenue for the development of drug resistance.

In the study, the new drug showed a much lower tendency to develop resistance, and it remains in the tissues where the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria reside for longer, killing them more effectively.

WHO will start working towards ending Tuberculosis
Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

The goal of TB drug development programmes is to develop universal treatment regimens that will shorten and simplify TB treatment in patients, which typically takes at least six months, and sometimes more than a year, said lead author Gregory T. Robertson, Assistant Professor at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins in the US.

For the study, the researchers used a new TB mouse model that develops these M. tuberculosis-containing granulomas to compare Isoniazid and AN12855.

Granuloma refers to a mass of granulation tissue, typically produced in response to infection, inflammation, or the presence of a foreign substance.

“We discovered that the drugs differed dramatically with respect to their abilities to kill the pathogen in highly diseased tissues,” said Robertson.

Tuberculosis
New TB drug may shorten treatment duration: Study. IANS

AN12855 proved more effective, “without selecting for appreciable drug resistance”, added Robertson in the study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Despite significant progress in combating tuberculosis, it remains the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, he said.

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“Multidrug resistance is a further challenge to the mission to control TB globally. Collectively, our group has pioneered the use of new TB mouse efficacy models to help advance innovative new therapies designed to shorten the length of TB treatment.” (IANS)