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Saturday, November 3, 2012
Star Health

Tuberculosis effort in real danger

The international effort to eliminate tuberculosis is in real danger, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Its latest figures showed there were 8.7 million new cases in 2011 and 1.4 million deaths. It warned of persistently slow progress in treating tuberculosis which is resistant to antibiotics.

Expert from WHO said that more 20 million lives had been saved in the past 17 years as a result of international commitments to tackle tuberculosis. But we are now at a crossroads between TB elimination within our lifetime, and millions more TB deaths.

The WHO said there was a massive funding gap for treating the disease in low- and middle-income countries which threatens to hold back care. It said 5bn was needed between 2013-2015, but there was a funding gap of 2bn.

The TB Alliance said: "Tuberculosis continues to kill more than 1.4 million people every year and drug-resistant TB remains one of the world's most ominous global health threats, but treatments for this disease are antiquated and inadequate.

Many researchers say that new vaccines will be the only long-term solution to tuberculosis. But it's a very complex disease and may require multiple vaccines.

A new vaccine called has been developed which has been given to nearly 3,000 babies in Africa. If it proves effective, it would be a hugely exciting result.

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