Tuberculosis eradication versus control

Int J Infect Dis. 2017 Mar;56:10-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2016.11.007. Epub 2016 Nov 18.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.4 million people died of tuberculosis (TB) in 2015, and the disease is now the number one cause of death from a preventable infectious disease worldwide. A bold vision is needed from global leaders to end the TB epidemic and plans to this end have been proposed. However enthusiasm must be matched by tangible and achievable goals based on the science and available funding. In order to reach the target and goals set by the WHO End TB Strategy, the challenges for TB eradication need to be addressed. In order to achieve the targets, several areas need to be bolstered, including the requirement to better identify and treat existing drug-susceptible cases and diagnose all the drug-resistant forms of the disease. Although treatment is available for most TB patients, stock-outs and other delays are problematic in some settings, resulting in ongoing transmission, especially for the drug-resistant forms of the disease. Despite the fact that a majority of multidrug-resistant cases are linked to treatment, the cure rate is only 50%, which highlights the need for safer, shorter, and more efficacious drug regimens that are more tolerable to patients. Prospects for a more efficacious vaccine are limited, with no correlates of protection identified; thus the availability of a vaccine by 2025 is highly improbable. Support for instituting infection control methods should be prioritized to subvert transmission while patients seek treatment and care. Finally, more adequate financial mechanisms should be instituted to reduce patient expenditures and support national TB programs. Moreover, funding to support basic science, drug development, clinical trials, vaccine development, diagnostics, and implementation research needs to be secured in order to reduce global TB incidence in the future.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Diagnostics; Drug susceptibility testing; Vaccination.

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Eradication* / economics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Research Support as Topic
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • World Health Organization


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines