While we rightly protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting death toll, a respectful silence surrounds the deaths from disease.
140 years ago, on March 24, doctor Robert Koch identified the infectious agent of tuberculosis.
The WHO (World Health Organization) chose this date for World Tuberculosis Day to remind all countries that this disease continues to seriously affect their populations, with a high number of deaths.
In 2020, according to the WHO, there were at least 1.5 million deaths from this disease that mainly affects the lungs, considered by experts the main current cause of death in HIV carriers.
Doctors Anthony Fauci and Laks Ramachandran, from the National Institutes of Health of the United States, point out on this date that the Covid-19 pandemic has made the fight against tuberculosis difficult in several ways.
One of them was timely access to diagnosis and treatment with current anti-infective agents for Koch’s bacillus.
But the pandemic has also shown a new avenue for accelerating the TB vaccine project.
The new technologies of mRNA (messenger RNA), by showing success in vaccines against Covid-19, indicated a new path for the viability of the vaccine against tuberculosis.
The BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine has been in use since 1921 and protects infants and children from tuberculosis, but fails to protect adults. Children with HIV do not receive the BCG vaccine.
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