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Press Room

Better Implementation of Current TB Control Programs Would Reduce Drug-Resistant Strains

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

World Lung Foundation today commended the Stop TB Partnership's launch of the “Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015,” but cautioned that the promise of breakthroughs in the near future should not delay individual countries from adopting current best practice in the fight against TB.

Dr. Neil Schluger, Chief Scientific Officer of World Lung Foundation commented: “We are delighted to see an emphasis on new point-of-care diagnostics in the Global Plan to Stop TB and urge countries to increase their use of the diagnostic tools that are currently available. Under-diagnosis and delayed diagnosis leads to further spread in communities, especially in overcrowded areas. “

World Lung Foundation also called on countries to ensure they boost their investment in TB control programs that include use of Directly Observed Therapy, Short Course (DOTS). DOTS has an 85% success rate in treating TB, yet many countries have not yet adopted it as standard practice. DOTS also reduces Multi-Drug Resistant TB, which is partly caused by patients not taking or completing their drug regimens. The impact of failing to implement DOTS on a large scale can be seen even in wealthy countries like South Korea, which has the highest rate of TB by far, compared with other OECD countries – 88 diagnosed cases for every 100,000 people.

Schluger continued: “MDR-TB is a major focus for the Global Plan and the goal of having three new drugs completing clinical trials by 2015 should be applauded. However, the rise in MDR-TB is directly linked to a failure to implement effective TB control programs. Countries cannot wait for new therapies; they should be doing more, now, to treat current cases of TB and slow the rise in MDR-TB by adopting a sound, basic TB control program. World Lung Foundation will work with our partners at local, national and international levels to help countries achieve that goal.”

The current estimate is that more than two billion people – one third of the world's population – are infected with TB and 10% of them will develop active TB at some point.