The lessons we are learning from COVID-19 pandemic can be transformative. Of course, the shortcomings in health care in each country have been exposed. However, the collaboration demonstrated by public and private sectors across the globe to find a solution is unprecedented. In our first issue of TBinfo, our appeal is to propagate the initiatives to address equally threatening infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis.
The world health organization has predicted high mortality rates due to infection by drug-resistant pathogens and has called for taking urgent measures to mitigate the crisis (WHO Report , 2019). While several national and international bodies have taken initiatives for finding new antibiotics, a less enthusiastic R&D by pharmaceutical companies towards antimicrobial drug discovery has aggravated the crisis globally. The alarming rate of occurrence of multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant t uberculosis (XDR-TB) therefore mandates pacing up the efforts to discover new drugs as well as explore alternative options with open mind.
Tuberculosis, which is also popularly called as TB, is one of the most ancient diseases that has stayed and co-evolved continuously with the human beings, with the earliest record being more than 17000 years old.
Tuberculosis or TB is one of the major causes of death worldwide. India is worst affected, followed by China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa. About 25 % of total TB patients are in India and 600 people on an average die from TB every day. At the same time, TB is curable and preventable. The death rate in India is falling due to improved diagnosis and treatment, though slowly. We have a long way to go before we can eliminate TB endemic by 2025, a target set by India.
As a patient advocate from Inspire2Live, the Dutch and international organization of patient advocates that aims to get cancer under control, it's not a weird question to write an article about tuberculosis. It is particular not weird because I was asked about how to come to a better approach of setting up research for a better treatment of tuberculosis. To be honest, I know almost nothing about tuberculosis. I know a lot about cancer and about how to organize settings, workshops and brainstorm sessions for realizing new approaches to deal with it. I'm convinced it works for other diseases as well. We call our approach "The Discovery Network" (DN). Let's see how this.