Press Releases 2022

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases, even though it has been pushed out of the public eye over the past two years due to the Corona pandemic. The Corona pandemic has actually exacerbated the situation and set back the fight against TB by years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That's because COVID-19 tied up key public health resources in many regions, creating bottlenecks and affecting tuberculosis control. The WHO estimates that in 2020, 10 million people worldwide will still have tuberculosis and about 1.5 million people will have died from it.

If we look at Germany, we see that the numbers are declining again after increases in 2015 and 2016 due to the wave of refugees at the time: In 2021, 3,896 illnesses were reported to the Robert Koch Institute. Russia's war against Ukraine, which has been ongoing for three weeks, is currently forcing many Ukrainians to leave their home country. Ukraine is a high-incidence country for tuberculosis, including its antibiotic-resistant forms, according to the WHO. "Of course, this presents public health workers and treating physicians with the challenges of detecting tuberculosis at an early stage and initiating the right therapy based on rapid detection of the respective antibiotic resistance," said Prof. Ulrich Schaible, center director from the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center. "But the declining TB numbers since 2016 make me confident that our healthcare system can also handle this challenge very well."

World Tuberculosis Day, observed each year on March 24, commemorates March 24, 1882, when Robert Koch announced the discovery of the tuberculosis bacterium in Berlin. At that time, tuberculosis was so widespread in Europe and America that one in seven people died from it. The discovery of the cause of the disease made it possible to develop a therapy against it. Unfortunately, 140 years later, tuberculosis is still widespread. The current complex challenges in the worldwide diagnosis and control of tuberculosis, as well as the development of new active substances and therapies, can only be mastered through the constant exchange and international networking of doctors, epidemiologists and scientists.

For a TB free world.