New report shows drug-resistant TB set to increase in four high burden countries

On 9 May, The Lancet Infectious Diseases published a new report that projects trends in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in four countries: Russia, India, the Philippines and South Africa. The report predicts that the percentage of MDR-TB will increase in all four countries and by 2040 will make up 32.5 percent of all TB cases in Russia, 12.4 percent of TB cases in India, 8.9 percent of TB cases in the Philippines, and 5.7 percent of TB cases in South Africa. 

Paul Jensen, Director of Policy and Strategy, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, made the following statement:

"Resistant TB endangers the health and security of every country. Unless something changes, the day will soon come when we're facing the international spread of an incurable airborne disease. The chance to stop that from happening is now. Drug-resistant TB is one of the most difficult illnesses that a person can experience. For every five people who contract drug-resistant TB, four go without access to treatment. This is a crisis. 

"When the heads of the G20 countries meet in July, I hope we’ll see an agreement reached that will lead to swift action as part of a major effort against drug-resistant diseases. The solution includes supporting a fast-track approach to the development and access of new TB treatments. In the meantime, a treatment option for resistant TB has recently become available that is more effective than the old standard and lasts nine instead of 24 months, which countries should begin implementing immediately

"Later this month, the World Health Assembly will elect a new Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is imperative that the new WHO Director General mobilises a global response to TB before the rising tide of drug-resistance becomes truly overwhelming."

Read the full report