From our Team

World TB Day 2022

 

Today we mark World TB Day, this year against a backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, both of which are having a devastating impact on health systems, and preventing people from getting the care they need.

The TB burden remains highest in low- and middle-income countries, but in eastern Europe it is also a major concern, as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are among the countries with the highest rates of drug-resistant TB in the world. Globally, with the exception only of COVID-19, TB continues to kill more people than any other infectious disease.

This year’s World TB Day theme is Invest to end TB; save lives. There remains a funding gap of over US$10 billion to achieve the test, treatment, and vaccine targets in the WHO Global Plan, and we still do not have the tools we need to diagnose the disease in children, or to screen at-risk communities. We must also invest time – from engaging with communities, to keeping TB high on political agendas.

Right now we have a unique opportunity – to take advantage of the wave of innovation that has emerged to tackle COVID-19 and apply it to accelerate the tests, treatments, and vaccines we need to end TB. Never before has the bar been lower for TB investment.

We invite you to join us for this World TB Day:

  • Listen to yesterday’s panel discussion, “Investing in Universal Lung Health – The Global Perspective”, organized by Qure.ai, at which I presented an overview of our TB portfolio
  • Watch a new video released by the Stop TB Partnership New Diagnostics Working Group, which I co-chair, highlighting community and scientific perspectives on the need for TB testing to end TB
  • Learn about our community engagement initiative in India, called Women’s Empowerment to End TB (WE-END TB), by watching this video
  • Contribute to a public call for whole genome sequencing and phenotypic data from clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis complex. Drug-resistant TB is still a major public health crisis and a threat to global health security, as highlighted by my colleague Swapna Uplekar in this video
  • Respond to our open expressions of interest related to TB for:
  • Consult the SOS Stoolbox, developed by our partners KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, which includes a simple stool processing method for the detection of M. tuberculosis; we worked with them to produce an instructional video on this non-invasive technique that can drastically improve TB diagnosis in children
  • Come to a webinar on 31 March, which we are organizing with the Aurum Institute, on TB diagnostic strategies that can facilitate improved access to testing and ensure that the large number of missed TB cases are identified and started on treatment. Register here
  • Meet my colleagues Charity Dandak and Willo Brock at the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting in London and at the R&D Briefing, on 28 March, organized by our friends at TB Alliance
  • Register for a forthcoming event we are hosting with TB Alliance and IAVI on 11 April 2022, to discuss new tools and technologies that have the potential to end TB for good
  • Connect with us on social media to keep informed about our activities in TB and other diseases

Together, we can make sure that everyone who needs a TB test can get one so that we can finally beat this disease. Invest to end TB; save lives.

Morten
Director, TB Programme