Suitcase kits help fight Tuberculosis

Bild: (c) Malene Arboe-Rasmussen/Stop TB Partnership

Tuberculosis(TB) is still the world’s most deadly infectious disease but change is coming to cut the threat in order for it to become something of the past. 

Cutting-edge medical tech in bustling Manila in the Philippines helps battle TB. Portable X-ray machines with AI can pinpoint infections in minutes. They use similar technology to the PCR tests, which were used widely during the Covid pandemic. The presence of the TB bacteria can be detected in approximately an hour. It can also determine whether the person’s infection is likely to respond to first-line drugs, or whether they will need a different treatment if the bacteria has become resistant to those medicines. Swift diagnosis leads to quicker treatment, crucial for curing patients and preventing spread. The diagnostic equipment can also be carried on foot in a “suitcase” to places which are inaccessible to vehicles. 

Advanced treatments like BPaL shorten therapy duration and reduce side effects. Advances in other TB treatment are also imminent, like vaccines that will protect not only children, such as the already existing BCG vaccine, but will also prevent transmission among young adults. 

The challenges still persist, like stigma, lack of awareness and lack of funding to meet the UN Targets to end TB by 2030. 90% of sufferers should be reached with diagnosis and treatments by 2027 and there should also be preventative treatment by that time for 90% of people at high risk of developing it. Efforts are definitely intensifying and hopefully TB will soon be history.

Bild: (c) Malene Arboe-Rasmussen/Courtesy of Stop TB Partnership


Author: Sylvia Jacobs

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