News of the WeekNORTH KOREA

New Tuberculosis Lab Hailed as Breakthrough in Health Diplomacy

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Science  12 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5971, pp. 1312-1313
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5971.1312-b

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Researchers from Stanford University and a consortium of nonprofit organizations have been working side by side with colleagues from the North Korean Ministry of Public Health—from student nurses on up to senior physicians—to help set up the isolated nation's first laboratory capable of growing the mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) and detecting drug-resistant strains. That can't happen a moment too soon. Following years of economic decline and the severe famines of the mid-1990s, TB and other infectious diseases have surged in North Korea.