What the experts are saying

We have to be ready to be thinking of new things with tuberculosis because what we’ve been doing so far hasn’t worked out." (1)

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"We are combating a disease that kills someone every 20 seconds, with a 125-year-old diagnostic test that fails to diagnose half the number of cases, with an 85-year-old vaccine that does not protect adults and with 40-year-old drug regimens." (2)

"We are pitifully behind. To be honest, even our understanding of the epidemiology is severely limited. We don't actually know where the worst conditions are. Nor do we know whether in most places the situation is getting better or worse."  (2)

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"It's not just one or two [new] drugs. We need four or five immediately…Every time we look the problem is worse than we thought. Now it is coming together with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and it could be the most frightening thing we are ever going to see."(3)

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XDR-TB is probably the worst thing we could ever have imagined." (4)

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"XDR-TB could take the world back to the era that predates antibiotics, with nothing in hand to guarantee treatment success." (5) 

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We have managed by a combination of complacency and incompetence to allow this bacillus to mutate into a virtually untreatable form" (6)

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Drug-resistant TB… is evidence of a new form of regression: we have taken the curable and made it nearly incurable. The tendency has been to blame the most vulnerable and powerless.. It is time to recognize that we collectively bear responsibility for this.” (7)

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"No low income country anywhere has continuous drug resistance surveillance in place." (8)

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“Fewer than one third of all people living with HIV and TB worldwide received appropriate treatment for both diseases in 2007” (9)

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"The response to the drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic seems to be ineffectual, with [a] projected rapid increase in the global incidence of MDR-TB" (10) 

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"Wherever we look for drug resistant TB we are finding it in alarming numbers, suggesting that current statistics may only be scratching the surface of the problem." (11)

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"The interactions of DR-TB drugs with AIDS medicine are largely unknown." (12)

"Today's treatment for DR-TB is pargey based on experience and expert opinion, not studies or clinical trials." (12)

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"The current objective is to deliver a new short term regimen able to treat [both] drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB, and is compatible with HIV treatment...it is questionable whether this objectve can be achieved within reasonable timelines." (12)

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"No epidemic of drug resistant disease of this scale has ever before been documented" (13)

(1) Dr Lee Reichmann - lung specialist at New Jersey Medical School National TB Center

(2) Doctor Peter Small, Senior Program Officer for TB, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

(3) Doctor Jim Yong Kim, former Director of the WHO HIV/AIDS Department, now President of the World Bank

(4) Mario Raviglione, the Director of the WHO “Stop TB” Department

(5) Doctor Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organisation

(6) Dr Zaif Udwida – author of “Totally drug-resistant tuberculosis in India: Who let the djinn out?”

(7) “Apocalypse or Redemption: responding to extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis”

(8) WHO global report on Drug Resistance in Tuberculosis – 2010

(9) Ban Ki Moon - President of the United Nations - 2008

(10) Professor Alimuddin Zumla, University College London Medical School - 2012

(11) Dr Unni Karunakara, MSF President. - 2012

(12) MSF - 2012

(13) Dr Paul Farmer - expert on MDR-TB and co-founder of Partners in Health