Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases.
Of the estimated 10 million people who developed TB in 2017, more than half (62 per cent) were in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions. More than 900,000 of these new TB cases were diagnosed in people living with HIV.
In 2017, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions, with 62% of new cases.
TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2017, 1.6 million people died from TB, including 0.3 million among people with HIV.
Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases and poor treatment outcomes still needs to be addressed. In 2017, there were 558,000 cases of MDR-TB with 8.5 per cent of those cases being extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).
What is tuberculosis (TB)?
- An infectious disease caused by the bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it commonly affects the respiratory system.
- This can result in a range of symptoms such as coughing, chest pain, weight loss and weakness, fever and night sweats.
- The bacteria is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
While tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics, in some countries the bacteria is becoming increasingly drug-resistant and is presenting major concerns among health workers.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to the two most powerful, first-line, anti-TB drugs.
Infectious diseases physician and Deputy Program Director, Health Security, Dr Suman Majumdar said, despite recent promising developments, the current available tools for TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention are not adequate to reach the goal of universal access to TB care and zero TB deaths.
“In the case of MDR-TB, patients living with this disease can no longer be ignored as untreated; this disease can kill and spread to others. Cure is possible, but current treatment involves an excruciating two-year ordeal of swallowing 20 pills a day and receiving a painful injection each day for more than eight months – the side-effects are terrible.
“Treatment needs to be coupled with close patient support and delivery of care close to their homes and livelihoods. We urgently need enhanced preventative measures, universal access to diagnostics (especially children) and a safer, shorter treatment for DR-TB.”
“What we do at Burnet is address major and complex global health issues and nothing is more in that realm than TB in terms of its burden and its impact on people, particularly its impact on the poor,” Dr Majumdar said.
“The response to TB at Burnet really deploys the unique skills that we have, from providing on-the-ground assistance and support, to training and building capacity, to conducting research which translates to inform policy, and working with partnerships at global and national level to drive an agenda of change.
“Unfortunately TB has been around since the beginning of human history and it’s still a devastating and important public health and development issue and disease.
“I’m pleased that Burnet is trying to address it, because it does need different thinking and different approaches.
“That’s something our team has been trying to bring, from care and delivery at individual level, to community level, to the national level, and also hopefully to the international and global stage as well.”
Burnet’s Dr Suman Majumdar is part of this initiative which aims to create closer connections between the broad range of policy makers, clinicians, patients, scientists and public health workers working for tuberculosis control and elimination in our region.
For more information visit the TB Forum website.
- Access Point Of Care Initiative
Increasing access to life-saving treatments for infectious diseases through point-of-care tests.
- APPRISE - Centre for Research Excellence
The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE).
- Building a Centre of Excellence for Research and Training for DR-TB in Daru, Papua New Guinea
Building operational research capacity for TB in PNG through training, mentorship and research.
- Building capacity and improving tuberculosis diagnosis in Timor-Leste
This project seeks to improve the diagnosis of people with TB with the use of GeneXpert technology.
- Decision science using Optima
Research and applications across disease areas to improve allocative efficiency.
- Demonstrating the impact of next generation Cepheid tools in TB
GeneXpert Ultra and GeneXpert Omni for the diagnosis of tuberculosis at the microscopy centre level: PNG
- Diagnostic accuracy of Molbio Truenat for diagnosis of TB and rifampicin resistance
Multi-country clinical trial investigating the diagnostic accuracy of a new TB diagnostic test, Molbio Truenat, for detecting TB and rifampicin resistant TB in PNG.
- ESCAPE-TB: Enhanced screening and preventive therapy for TB in Daru, PNG
A community-based model for screening and delivering preventive therapy for latent TB in Daru, PNG.
- Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies
A collaborative research program aimed at providing life-saving health care for women and children in PNG.
- HHISP: Strengthening Papua New Guinea health systems
Burnet is a partner in the Health and HIV Implementation Services Provider (HHISP).
- HMHB - Health Services for Postnatal and Infancy Care
Focuses on services during postnatal period and through the first 12 months in East New Britain, PNG.
- Novel reagents for the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis
Using a drop of blood, an innovative diagnostic test may be able to detect if a patient has tuberculosis (TB).
- Rapid and accurate diagnosis of TB: New trial in PNG
New PNG arm of a randomised control trial to trial new tuberculosis point-of-care technology.
- RID-TB Patient Education and Counselling
Reducing the impact of DR-TB through patient-centred education and counselling in Daru, PNG.
- RID-TB: Reducing the Impact of Drug-Resistant TB in Western Province, PNG
The project supports an effective provincial program to reduce the impact of TB in Daru.
- Scenario analysis for programmatic tuberculosis control in Western Province, Papua New Guinea
Construction of a mathematical model to simulate the TB epidemic in Western Province of PNG, which will be used to inform programmatic responses.
- Strengthening the control of tuberculosis: China and Australia's partnership
With funding support from the Australia-China Council, Burnet is collaborating with the Institute for Pathogen Biology in Beijing on developing novel assays for improved tuberculosis serology.
- TB-MAC Multi-modelling Exercise
TB-MAC is an international consortium of modellers, coordinated through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
- The Social and Cultural Determinants of TB in Daru [SCuD-TB Daru – Study 1]
A pilot project about people with TB and their contacts: beliefs, access to services and experiences.
- Zero TB initiative Yogyakarta
Implementation of a comprehensive Zero TB approach to Tuberculosis control in Yogyakarta, Indonesia