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WHO-Sponsored Meeting Discusses Post-2015 Goals For Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) experts gathered in Geneva on Wednesday for a WHO-sponsored two-day meeting “to discuss a consensus on the appropriate post-2015 tuberculosis goals,” Nature reports. In the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, TB is named under Goal 6, with the objective of reducing global TB incidence, but “the tuberculosis community is itching to get its goals included with more definition in the post-2015 development agenda,” the journal notes. According to Nature, “The gathering will be tense. Although the stakeholders all hope to eliminate the pulmonary disease that kills about 1.4 million people worldwide each year, they disagree about what the next 10-year objective should be.”

One possible goal “would be to cut the projected 2015 annual deaths in half by 2025,” which Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO’s Stop TB Department, “calls … feasible yet challenging enough to drive change, given the imperfect tools to prevent, diagnose and treat tuberculosis that currently exist,” Nature writes. “But some of his contemporaries say that the 50 percent target will not inspire sufficient action and enthusiasm,” according to the journal, which notes that while global TB mortality has declined, TB deaths are not decreasing in some regions, including Eastern Europe and Africa. Nature includes comments from other experts and discusses new drugs recently approved and in clinical trials for TB treatment (Maxmen, 2/6). In related news, Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story” examines a new study showing fake and substandard TB medicines in developing countries are making the disease more difficult to treat (Kyle, 2/6).