Tuberculosis kills more people than any other infectious disease, yet funding for research and development for this millennia-old disease is woefully lacking.

If we want to reach the goal of ending the epidemic by 2030, we need significant change on multiple dimensions in how we're tackling the disease. Increasing research and scientific support is one of them.

...a device that looks like an espresso maker, but can conduct molecular tests of TB bacteria and detect drug resistance.

Implementers of global health programs play an important role in bridging research gaps to better address service delivery, translating science into practice that can save more lives. TB prevalence surveys conducted in countries in Africa and Asia have changed the landscape of TB epidemiology, for example, allowing us to gain a much better understanding of the burden of disease and to identify ways in which TB control can be improved through more targeted investments.

Operational research can lead to improvements in program performance; information from operational research on shorter drug regimens for multidrug-resistant TB in a number of countries was critical in WHO’s recommendation on the use of shorter treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB, for example.

TB detection has also been revolutionised by the introduction of GeneXpert, a cutting edge device used by governments, health agencies and implementers of health programs that looks like an espresso maker, but can conduct molecular tests of TB bacteria and detect drug resistance.

There are reasons for optimism, but only a multidisciplinary approach will get us there. With TB being the leading cause of death for people living with HIV, it is imperative that we renew interest in research for TB if we are to end both epidemics.

 

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