Tuberculosis prevention must integrate technological and basic care innovation

Albert H, Nathavitharana RR, Denkinger CM, Isaacs C, Boehme CC


P.H. Mason and colleagues highlight the fact that “new technology alone cannot solve the [tuberculosis] epidemic” and that integrated and community-driven solutions are needed to meet tuberculosis (TB) care and treatment goals. The authors highlight an example of community-wide screening using portable radiography in the pre-antibiotic treatment era, with patients being prescribed rest, diet, exercise and fresh air, leading to a reduction in TB prevalence in the intervention area. We concur with the authors’ view that a focus purely on introducing new technologies, be they diagnostics, drugs or vaccines, will not have the desired impact on patient outcomes or public health. In our article, we put forward the proposition that a holistic solution is needed to ensure adequate impact of new diagnostics on patient-important outcomes. For TB patients, especially those with multidrug-resistant disease, who require extremely long and arduous treatment regimens, social support, adequate diet and management of other pre-existing conditions, are essential components of a patient’s care, without which patients are unlikely to be successfully treated.

Comment from the authors – Without societal, lifestyle and dietary innovations, new technologies will be ineffectual in stopping tuberculosis, Mason et al.

Letter to the Editor, ERJ, – Tuberculosis prevention must integrate technological and basic care innovation, Albert et al.