The medical humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a recent report that the tuberculosis crisis is due to outdated policies and treatment methods.
A new report, Out Of Step, presented at the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health, claims the archaic ways to treat TB are leading to cases being untreated and the epidemic out of control.
“This is no time for complacency," Dr. Petros Isaakidis, medical epidemiologist/senior operational research fellow with MSF India, said. “In Mumbai, India, MSF sees that primary transmission of drug-resistant strains is likely driving the epidemic in hot spots like slums and within vulnerable groups such as people living with HIV."
The Out of Step report claims TB is an epidemic due to poor access to drug resistance testing, a growing number of people diagnosed with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) left untreated, utilizing outdated models of care, limited access to new drugs and an extreme shortfall in funding.
"DR-TB is a manmade disaster, born out of years of neglect and driven by a slow and piecemeal response," Isaakidis said. "Countries must increase their efforts to optimize DR-TB care in line with international guidelines and seize the opportunity that new tools offer to strengthen and accelerate the fight against TB.”
The World Health Organization released data recently that shows that less than one-third of the estimated world’s MDR-TB patients worldwide are diagnosed and only 20 percent receive proper care.
“Patients are missing out on the potential of new and promising treatments because companies and countries are dragging their feet with registrations,” MSF Access Campaign TB Advisor Grania Brigden said. “Meanwhile, the lack of clinical trials incorporating new TB drugs into much-needed short, tolerable, and effective regimens highlights the failings in the way medical innovation is conducted and incentivized. It’s time for TB research and development efforts to be prioritized and funded in a way that ensures lifesaving diagnostics and treatments rapidly reach the people who so desperately need them.”