- ABOUT AERAS
- ABOUT TB & VACCINES
- OUR APPROACH
The Current Situation
World Health Organization TB Reports
WHO Progress Report 2011
Toward universal access to diagnosis and treatment of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis by 2015.
> view the progress report
Multidrug and Extensively Drug-Resistant TB
2010 global report on surveillance and response.
> view the report
WHO Global TB Control 2011
This publication contains the latest data and for the first time also features promising developments in TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.
> view the 2011 report
About TBTuberculosis (TB) is a serious, debilitating and highly contagious disease affecting millions of people worldwide. If not properly treated, it is often fatal.
Spread through the air from one person to another when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the bacteria that cause TB usually attack the lungs. However, TB can attack other parts of the body, including the kidneys, the spine and the brain.
Until the mid-20th century a leading cause of death in the developed world, TB remains a scourge in many developing countries. And new drug-resistant strains have caused its reemergence as a health threat even in regions where until recently medical treatment had kept the disease at bay.
As a result, the TB pandemic continues unabated. Despite efforts to control and treat tuberculosis, in 2010 8.8 million more people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million people – many of them children – died.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, is present in one-third of the world's population, though not everyone shows signs of the disease. Mounting drug resistance, including multi- and extensively drug resistant TB (MDR-TB and XDR-TB), coupled with the growing number of people co-infected with TB and HIV, make the pandemic more threatening and more deadly.
Why a New VaccineTo win the fight against TB, a comprehensive approach is needed that includes new and more effective vaccines as well as improved diagnostics and treatment.
The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, created in 1921, is the only existing vaccine against TB. Unfortunately, it is only partially effective. It provides some protection against severe forms of pediatric TB, but is unreliable against adult pulmonary TB, which accounts for most of the disease burden worldwide. Although BCG is the most widely administered vaccine in the world, there have never been as many cases of TB on the planet. There is therefore an urgent need for a modern, safe and effective vaccine that would prevent all forms of TB, including the drug-resistant strains, in all age groups and among people with HIV.
Current ChallengesTreating TB is challenging, even in developed countries where there is a modern health care system and infrastructure. Current treatment regimens last six to nine months, and erratic or inconsistent treatment breeds multidrug-resistant and even extensively drug-resistant TB, which means that this pandemic could become even more difficult to control throughout the world.
TB is a leading cause of death among people who are also infected with HIV, according to the World Health Organization. One-third of the 33.2 million people living with HIV also suffer from TB. Without proper treatment, approximately 90 percent of people living with HIV die within two to three months of contracting TB.