Breathe science to eliminate TB: World TB Day 2022

Newswise — NEW YORK, NY – March 24, 2022 – In support of World Tuberculosis Day, March 24, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which the American Thoracic Society is a founding member, calls on the challenge the TB community to think differently, champion science and embrace evidence-based innovation if we are to end TB.

We have made great strides towards eliminating TB over the past 100 years.

The progress made to date has only been possible thanks to our commitment to research and innovation. While it is important to reflect on our achievements, we must continue to advance our knowledge through research and implement it in policy and practice. For TB elimination, this means:

  • Prioritize the active identification and treatment of anyone with TB to prevent transmission of the infectious disease.
  • Using the latest technological advancements available to us – digital communications, imaging and diagnostic tools.
  • Undertake clinical, public health and operational research to create knowledge for action.
  • Engage communities and motivate them to adopt the concept of eliminating TB.
  • Challenging global TB inequities – we can no longer accept that people in low- and middle-income countries are infected, sick and dying from TB every day, while people in high-income countries don’t know that TB still exists.

As deaths rise for the first time in more than a decade – 1.5 million deaths in 2020 – tuberculosis must be treated as an emergency. That’s why we’re calling on world leaders to deliver on the promises they made at the 2018 UN High Level Meeting and at #InvestToEndTB.

Despite limited funding (particularly in relation to COVID-19), there have been significant TB research triumphs over the past decade, such as:

  • Molecular tests make diagnosis possible in less than two hours, rather than two to four weeks.
  • Treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis has been shortened from two years of toxic injectable agents to six months of an all-oral regimen.
  • Treatment of TB infection has been reduced from nine months to one to three months with safer and better tolerated regimens.

These breakthroughs demonstrate our commitment to science. In order to make the next big breakthrough in ending TB, we need to foster an environment where evidence-based innovation can flourish. It will be difficult to maintain such an environment given the current difficulties we face around the world, including the millions of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

These troubled times provide good conditions for tuberculosis and other lung diseases to prevail. We must, however, stay positive and challenge ourselves to think differently, champion science and embrace evidence-based innovation to end TB.

Share on Twitter: As the crisis in #Ukraine continues and fears of the spread of #TB grow, partners @atscommunity and @FIRS_LungsFirst are urging the community to embrace evidence-based innovation to end #TB. #InvestToEndTB https://bit.ly/3ujgk35

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