Stopping the Spread
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world aware of how deadly respiratory illness can be. However, respiratory infections have been with us for a very long time and will continue to be a major source of human suffering and death.
Some infections (like the flu or COVID-19) are spread by touching infected surfaces and then touching the nose or mouth. Hand washing ✋ is important to help prevent the spread of germs.
Many respiratory infections are spread by breathing in the germ or bacteria either from exposure to other patients who are coughing or from the air (like with TB or COVID-19). Wearing a mask 😷 is highly effective to prevent transmission.
A Global Threat
TB is a global disease, found in every country in the world. It is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.8 billion people—close to one quarter of the world's population—are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), the bacteria that causes TB.
Last year, 10 million people fell ill from TB and 1.5 million died.
The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a grave reminder that health threats can travel swiftly across continents and oceans. We stand in solidarity with the global fight against COVID-19 and we hope the world will emerge from this crisis with a renewed commitment to aggressively anticipate and address global health threats and pandemics.
Significantly more remains to be done if we are going to end TB and fight global health threats.
Today's treatments cannot most effectively combat the pandemic because they are too long, complex, and unable to sufficiently address the full spectrum of drug-resistance. Overcoming the TB pandemic requires new and dramatically improved therapy that will be effective against all forms of TB and can be given to all TB patients.