WHO’s new TB numbers highlight an emergency in need of action

Statement from Mel Spigelman, MD, President and CEO, TB Alliance

October 27, 2022

“The tuberculosis situation is urgent. TB is again the biggest single killer globally of any infectious disease, including COVID-19.

“For too long, TB has been a low-priority disease, a phenomenon we have seen clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We lost more than a decade of progress in 2020, and 2021 saw increases in both incidence and mortality. Despite gains in areas like preventative therapy, we are still behind in just about every pledge and goal regarding TB.

“There is great potential right now, with shorter and more effective treatments available for drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB, shorter and more effective TB prevention treatments, better detection technologies and many promising TB vaccine candidates in the pipeline. These new technologies need to be embraced and distributed in addition to pursuing further innovations.

“While we do not yet have an approved broadly effective vaccine, there is one thing that can inoculate the world from further TB misery: political will. We hope this year’s WHO TB report can provide a catalyst for the entire world to finally embrace the need to end TB.”


Photo caption: A physician and highly drug-resistant TB survivor examine x-ray results as part of the BPaL operational research program in Kyiv, Ukraine