A Lancet editorial responds to the WHO’s sixteenth annual report on global tuberculosis (TB) control, released on Oct 11, which shows that the incidence of tuberculosis has been falling worldwide since 2002, writing, “Successes in disease control in China and other countries show what sustained political and economic support can achieve. Rather than waiting for the elixir of economic success to arrive in all high-burden countries, committed action by donors, agencies, and governments in the most challenging settings is needed in the global campaign against tuberculosis.”
“Treating tuberculosis (TB) and HIV infections at the same time can be a challenge for patients and their doctors, but attacking both diseases early and aggressively isn’t harmful and could save the lives of those who are sickest,” according to a global study led by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The study found that patients whose immune systems have been most damaged by HIV were 40 percent less likely to die or develop AIDS if they began antiretroviral treatment (ART) “two weeks after starting TB treatment, instead of waiting eight to 12 weeks, as is commonly done now,” the newspaper writes.
“Thousands of lives and years of gains made against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria could be lost if proportional reductions are made to achieve the $1.2 trillion in spending reductions required by the Budget Control Act of 2011,” according to a report (.pdf) issued on Monday by the Foundation for AIDS…
“Russia plans to step up its international role in fighting infectious disease across eastern Europe and central Asia, in what some observers see as the latest effort by the Kremlin to reassert its political influence over its former Soviet neighbors,” the Financial Times reports. “Arkady Dvorkovich, economic aide to President Dmitry Medvedev, pledged money for a new international development agency to support programs against HIV and tuberculosis (TB)” at the Millennium Development Goal 6 Forum hosted in Moscow last week, the newspaper notes.
“Vitamin D is needed to activate the immune system’s response to tuberculosis (TB),” a finding that “could lead to new treatments for the lung disease,” researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) said in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, Agence France-Presse reports. “Researchers have long known that vitamin D plays a role in the body’s response to TB, but the study … shows it must be present in adequate levels to trigger the immune response,” AFP writes.
WHO Says Global TB Cases Decline For First Time Ever But Warns Funding Gap, Resistant Strains Put Progress At Risk
New data published in the WHO’s 2011 Global Tuberculosis Control Report on Tuesday, “shows that the number of people who fell ill with [tuberculosis (TB)] dropped to 8.8 million in 2010, after peaking at 9 million in 2005,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The report shows that the TB death rate dropped 40 percent between 1990 and 2010, and all regions, except Africa, are on track to achieve a 50 percent decline in mortality by 2015,” the news service writes (10/11). “The countries the WHO especially noted for progress in the fight against the disease were Kenya, [Tanzania], Brazil and China,” Reuters reports (Selyukh/Ulmer-Nebehay, 10/11).
The Huffington Post profiles Philippe Douste-Blazy, U.N. under-secretary-general of Innovative Financing for Development and chair of UNITAID, a financing mechanism he conceived in 2004 to help provide medicines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries. The article discusses Douste-Blazy’s work and background, UNITAID, and other innovative financing schemes (Lines, 10/6).
“Lung damage caused by smoking could cause an additional 18 million cases of tuberculosis (TB) and 40 million extra deaths from TB by 2050, according to a study published on Tuesday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ),” Agence France-Presse reports, adding that the researchers from the University of California at San Francisco derived the estimates “from a mathematic model of smoking trends and smoking’s impact on TB risk” (10/5).
Multi-Drug Resistance In First-Time TB Patients Shows 'Substantial' Transmission Of MDR-TB, Study Says
Nearly half of patients diagnosed with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) at a Chinese hospital had not had the disease before, showing “‘substantial’ transmission of the deadly superbug,” according to a study conducted by researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, Bloomberg reports.
In a Huffington Post opinion piece, Kolleen Bouchane, director of ACTION, asks whether President Barack Obama will “heed Archbishop [Desmond] Tutu’s call to action” in a recent Washington Post opinion piece “and do his part to end AIDS.” She says, “While campaigning, President Obama promised to expand PEPFAR ‘by $1 billion a year in new money over the next five years’ and provide $50 billion by 2013 to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide. We are not on track to see even those promises become reality. We are not on track for the leadership to change the course of HIV and AIDS that Tutu has called for.”