Molecular Diagnostics | Tuberculosis
With focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has taken its eye off TB
May 25, 2021
Tuberculosis is highly infectious and a global problem that COVID-19 has only made worse. Two legacies of the response to COVID-19 give rise to hope. Thierry Bernard, CEO of QIAGEN, says many health systems now have unprecedented testing and tracing capacity that can be used to test for TB.
The 10 million people who develop active TB every year represent only the tip of the iceberg. The world has many people enduring active TB – and is teeming with latent TB cases constantly morphing into infectious ones.
We have to contend with this enlarged reservoir of latent TB just as the world limbers up again after various waves of COVID-19-induced lockdown. People all over the world will travel again and they will congregate to study, do business or enjoy just being together again.
Millions of people will develop active TB after months or years of carrying the latent disease undetected in their bodies. Their symptoms may be mild and go undiagnosed and untreated for months. The World Health Organization (WHO) reckons such sufferers can infect 10–15 other people over a year.