A sand sculpture on the beach at Puri, India, on Tuberculosis Day, March 24. Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While mortality has dropped from tuberculosis infections, nations must still accelerate their response to what remains "the world's deadliest disease," according to medical leaders speaking at the launch of an annual World Health Organization report today.

Threat level: Among the concerns is the estimated 558,000 people with TB who developed drug resistance in 2017 to at least one of the key antibiotics, with the vast majority showing multi-drug resistance — which is a "public health crisis," says Tereza Kasaeva, director of WHO's global TB program.

What's happening now: There's growing resistance to the most effective first-line TB drug, rifampicin, and now officials are seeing resistance to another key first-line TB drug, isonizid.

  • In 2015, countries reported that only 55% of people with drug-resistant TB showed they received successful treatment, partly due to lack of access to alternative antibiotics, Kasaeva says.
  • WHO has set an agenda goal of eradicating TB by 2030, recently outlining their joint initiative.
"TB is preventable, TB is treatable, and TB is curable. Now, we must all be held accountable."
— Eric Goosby, UN special envoy on tuberculosis.

By the numbers, per WHO:

  • Overall, TB deaths have decreased over the past year. In 2017, there were 1.6 million deaths (including among 300,000 HIV-positive people). Since 2000, there was a 44% drop in TB deaths among people with HIV, compared to a 29% decrease among HIV-negative people.
  • The number of new cases fell by 2% per year between 2013 and 2017, although faster reductions have occurred in Europe (5% per year) and Africa (4% per year).
  • Some countries are moving faster than others — with countries in southern Africa showing annual declines of 4%–8% and the Russian Federation reporting rapid declines in cases (5% per year) and in deaths (13% per year).
  • WHO estimates that a quarter of the world’s population is infected with TB and says there's an estimated 10 million people with new TB infections in 2017.

U.S. response: The U.S. is one of the largest donors to bilateral TB funds, says Irene Koek, deputy administrator for global health for the United States Agency for International Development. She says they look forward to the UN meeting to develop methods of accountability and transparency for participating countries. "We all need to come together," Koek says.

The bottom line: More funding is "urgently needed," Kasaeva says. In 2018, investments in TB prevention and care in low- and middle-income countries fell $3.5 billion short of what's required. Plus, another $ 1.3 billion/year is needed to boost R&D for new vaccines, diagnostic tests and drug treatments.

What's next: WHO’s report, called 2018 Global TB Report, urges decisive action from the heads of state/government who will gather next week for the September 26 UN General Assembly's first-ever, high-level meeting on the fight against TB.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Report: Goldman to settle DOJ probe into Malaysia's 1MDB for over $2B

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!