‘Still Time’ To Prevent Global Outbreak of Drug-Resistant TB, Editorial Says
There is "still time to prevent" drug-resistant tuberculosis from causing the "hideous outcome" that has been seen with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, "but perhaps not much," a Los Angeles Times editorial says in response to a recent World Health Organization report.
Drug-resistant TB is "no longer a disease that threatens mainly" people living with HIV/AIDS or impoverished populations in developing countries, the editorial says, adding, "It threatens us all." Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Stop TB Department, said that drugs effective against extensively drug-resistant TB might be available by 2015 and that the disease in the meantime will inevitably spread, according to the editorial.
Despite the "panic last year caused by Andrew Speaker," TB funding has "lagged," the editorial says. WHO estimates that it has a $2.5 billion shortfall in TB control resources "despite increases in funding from the U.S., Britain and private donors," the editorial says. Drug-resistant TB cannot and should not "be solved by the U.S. alone," the editorial says, adding that "[o]il-rich Russia and relatively affluent China can certainly afford to treat their own infected populations." The editorial concludes that both countries should be "exhorted to contribute more to the global fight against this awful disease" (Los Angeles Times, 2/28).