In DepthInfectious Disease

Campaign against TB steps up its ambitions

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Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1455
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6267.1455

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An international tuberculosis conference in Cape Town, South Africa, last week had the flavor of an HIV/AIDS gathering. In addition to street protests demanding cheaper drugs and impassioned pleas from people living with the disease, the meeting spotlighted a new drive to "end TB" that shares much of the agenda with a similar drive to "end AIDS," both of which have set 2030 deadlines. TB faces many of the same challenges, including the fact that one-third of the 9.6 million infected people remain undiagnosed and many who start treatment have difficulty sticking with the medication, leading to more transmission and drug resistance. TB activists at the meeting decried how long it's taking for promising new drugs to reach the many people who need them, as well as the high price of some new treatments that are widely available. Improved diagnostics also are becoming more widely used, including a machine called GeneXpert that rapidly detect TB and multidrug resistant cases and a urine test that works well in people who have late-stage AIDS.

  • * in Cape Town, South Africa