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Lancet Editorial Calls For TB Control, Elimination Efforts To Be On G20 Agenda

In anticipation of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, commemorated on March 24, this Lancet editorial examines TB control and elimination efforts in 2012 and beyond. “Tuberculosis killed 1.45 million people in 2010 and about 500,000 people have drug-resistant disease,” the editorial states, adding, “Despite a woeful funding gap in 2012 of $1.7 billion, tuberculosis incidence is falling (from 9.4 million in 2009 to 8.8 million in 2010).” The editorial notes, “Ten new or repurposed tuberculosis drugs are in Phase II or III trials, which hopefully will reduce treatment times to about four months, compared with present multidrug-resistant tuberculosis regimens lasting 18-24 months,” adding, “Faster treatment will greatly improve adherence, reduce transmission, and cut costs.”

The editorial continues, “An ambitious target to be discussed on World TB Day is that of zero children dying from tuberculosis by 2015. To reach this goal, sustaining the gains seen so far and improving case finding will be vital.” The editorial concludes, “Some observers argue a broader vision is needed, pursuing zero infections, zero deaths, and zero stigma from tuberculosis for people of all ages. Both these objectives will require commitment at the highest political levels and should be on the agenda when G20 leaders meet in Mexico in June” (3/24).