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Increasing tuberculosis burden in Latin America: an alarming trend for global control efforts
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  • Published on:
    Research Priorities to address TB and HIV in Eastern Europe against a background of COVID-19.
    • Francis Drobniewski, Professor Imperial College London, UK
    • Other Contributors:
      • Agnieszka Broda, Research Fellow
      • Raheelah Ahmad, Senior Lecturer
      • Tatiana Bogdanova, Linguist
      • Olha Konstantynovska, Assistant Professor
      • Andrii Dudnyk, Associate Professo
      • Andrei Mariandyshev, Professor
      • Valeriu Crudu, Associate Professor

    Ranzani et al. [1] elegantly describe the research priority framework to address the deteriorating TB situation for the mainly LMIC countries of Latin America, which has relevance to other regions. Although the countries of WHO Europe have reduced the overall TB burden (by an average 5.1% annually from 2014-18), multidrug resistant TB rates (MDRTB) are persistently high with the proportion of Rifampicin-resistant and MDRTB among new (18%) and previously TB treated (54%) cases significantly exceeding the global average (3.4% and 18% respectively) [2]. The HIV situation in this region is also dire; 1.4 million people were living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2017, with the two highest proportions in Russia and Ukraine [3], creating a significant TB-HIV co-infection problem where 13.1% of TB patients tested were HIV infected [2].

    The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all countries, but acutely on TB diagnostics and treatment especially in high TB burden LMICs. Recently the StopTB partnership examined the diagnosis and treatment statistics for nine countries, including Ukraine, representing 60% of the global TB burden; TB diagnosis and treatment enrolment in 2020 declined by 1 million or an average 23% in individual countries compared to 2019 [4].

    The WHO leads global efforts to prioritise research (and research is a key intervention as one of the pillars of the WHO End TB Strategy) with regional variations [5,6,7]. For Eastern Europe, the global i...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.