Developing Countries Urged to Produce TB Vaccines Locally

Friday, January 23, 2015

Even though one third of the global population have the microbes that cause tuberculosis (TB), pharmaceutical companies still have little incentive to produce the drugs that can combat the deadly but curable disease.

Speaking at the European Parliament on Wednesday (21 January) Dr Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of Stop TB Partnership, an international body coordinating the fight against tuberculosis among government bodies, donors and NGOs, underlined the huge global health burden of tuberculosis.

Latent TB in focus

Tuberculosis is a widespread, and in many cases fatal, infectious disease which typically attacks the lungs, but which can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air.

But most people infected do not have symptoms, in which case it is referred to as latent tuberculosis. About one in ten latent infections eventually become active which, if left untreated, is fatal for more than 50% of those infected.

“According to the World Health Organisation, 2 billion people, or one-third of the global population, are infected with tuberculosis bacilli, the microbes that cause TB,” Ditiu said. “So it’s a huge number and we cannot stand passive and just look at it. The problem we have is that consistently over the years, people have not been diagnosed, treated or received proper follow-up and God knows what kind of treatment they take.”

European officials dealing with the disease reminded that tuberculosis treatment are costly and that there has been a global supply problem in the past.

Source: EurActiv (link opens in a new window)

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