Category Archives: Featured

WHO recommendations aim to speed diagnosis, treatment of MDR-TB

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The two years of toxic medicines that make up the common course of treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis is so grueling and discouraging, as one Médecins Sans Frontières physician put it, that it causes “teenagers to abandon their ambitions, adults to decide between providing for their family or getting healthy and the elderly to wish for […]

IDWeek: Some progress in TB drug and diagnostic development, but not enough

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The emerging crisis of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is a “personal and health system catastrophe” that’s occurring half a million times a year in the form of new cases, Eric Nuermberger said at an IDWeek session on HIV-related opportunistic diseases. Not only is it an intensively difficult disease to treat, requiring up to two years of therapy […]

TB Week: U.S. Senators, Ambassador visiting Haiti prison see interaction of justice and health

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In the week leading up to International Tuberculosis Day, which commemorates the discovery by Robert Koch of the cause of the disease in 1882, Science Speaks will look at issues, events and efforts to confront this lasting and global health threat. Recently, Science Speaks reported on a WHO bulletin that pointed to the impact of […]

“Canaries in the mine” – Heeding the call for childhood TB research

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“First he stopped eating, then later he got a fever… the doctor said it was just a virus going around, but then his soft spot got swollen and I remembered the same thing happened to my daughter when she was diagnosed with meningitis at six months,” Myra said, speaking to a group of childhood TB […]

Study: Early HIV treatment prevents new infections, preserves health

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Study results announced this morning unequivocally link early antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-infected persons with a 96.3% less chance of transmitting the virus to an uninfected partner, as well as a decreased risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB), the number one killer of people living with HIV/AIDS. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) […]

Video: Dr. Hesseling on opportunities to impact childhood TB crisis

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Anneke Hesseling, MD, of the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, visited the U.S. to attend the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 4th Annual Science of Dissemination and Implementation conference last week. While in town, she visited legislators on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of global health funding, and gave a presentation to physician-scientists and advocates at the United Nations Foundation entitled “TB in Children: A Global Crisis and a South African Perspective.” Science Speaks had the opportunity to speak with her after the presentation regarding integrating TB and HIV testing and services, the potential impact of the Gene Xpert rapid TB test on children, and hot other topics.

The TB crisis in children

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The Global Center’s David Bryden reported from the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health, last week in Berlin.

Tuberculosis is often thought of as a disease that mainly affects adults. However, at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Berlin, Dr. Anneke Hesseling of the Desmond Tutu TB Centre in South Africa presented some startling information showing that the level of infection among children is actually quite significant, and that TB is an important issue for maternal and child health advocates.

Guest post: “Treating MDR-TB is imperative”

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This is a guest post by two doctors with vast experience in treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), Drs. Salmaan Keshavjee and Paul Farmer. Farmer is co-founder of Partners In Health and Keshavjee has treated MDR-TB patients through Partners In Health programs for the last decade. Until three months ago, Keshavjee was the chairman of the Green Light Committee of the Stop TB Partnership, which oversaw the distribution of second-line TB drugs to countries. They wrote this post in response to an interview on Science Speaks with Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, a senior Obama administration official at the Office of Management and Budget. (Emanuel’s interview can be found here.)

Emanuel on TB: `The challenge is enormous’

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Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, MD, PhD, Special Advisor for Health Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, is currently on a two-week trip in Africa looking at various health programs. On Thursday, he visited St. Peter’s Specialized TB Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and afterward talked with John Donnelly about his impressions of the hospital, which treats 145 patients with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), and how the trip influenced his thinking about future strategies in fighting TB.

This is the first of two parts of the interview with Emanuel. On Friday, Science Speaks will run Emanuel’s impressions of an HIV prevention program along heavily traveled road corridor that pass along Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya.