News Headlines Article

Why aren’t we producing medications for looming global disease threats?
The Washington Post

In the United States, any cluster of tuberculosis cases makes headlines, no matter how small the numbers. For example, local health authorities recently issued a warning to medical providers after 15 residents of a New York City neighborhood contracted tuberculosis over a two-year period — and the tabloids promptly hyped the news.

When 78 people in Los Angeles contracted tuberculosis between 2007-2013, local health authorities asked for federal help in controlling the outbreak, which then became national news.

But the reason these miniature outbreaks — and there are more than many people realize — are so dangerous is rarely addressed. The standard treatment for TB is 50 years old and we desperately need new medicines, particularly with the  global proliferation of highly drug-resistant strains of the disease. Patients today have the same chance of surviving multi-drug-resistant TB with treatment as they have of surviving the Ebola virus without any treatment.