World leaders convened at the United Nations to discuss global efforts to address tuberculosis (TB). Efforts to achieve the goals established in 2018 for TB prevention, treatment and funding have not met expectations. In 2021, TB sickened more than 10 million people. This was the first time in two decades that the number of cases increased. The virus killed 1.7 million people in 2021, compared to 1.6 million, in 2020 marking the first time in many years that TB deaths rose. According to global health experts, the COVID-19 pandemic is partially responsible for this lack of progress. Yet the fight to prioritize TB has long been an uphill battle. “TB has always been a neglected disease,” said novelist John Green, an ardent advocate for expanding access to TB treatment. “TB has been curable for 75 years, and we haven’t done a nearly good enough job of getting the cure to where the disease is”. Despite missing the 2022 objectives, world leaders agree to a number of new targets for 2027: treating 90% of diagnosed TB patients, reaching 90% of those who require preventative treatment, licensing a minimum of one new TB vaccine, and addressing funding shortfalls for TB research and programs. The ultimate aim is to reduce TB deaths by 90% and TB incidence by 80% by 2030, (compared to a 2015 baseline).
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