March 23, 2016

Take 1.5 minutes for 1.5 million lives

Vice President of External Affairs

In this guest post, Dara Erck, vice president of External Affairs at Aeras, a global nonprofit biotechnology organization, highlights a new video launched on World TB Day to raise awareness of the urgent need for new tools to combat tuberculosis (TB).

There’s something different about World TB Day this year.

What’s different? World TB Day falls on the same date as always, March 24. It’s the context that is different. This is the first World TB Day since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that TB was responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS. It is also the first World TB Day since the United Nations endorsed its new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include a target to end the TB epidemic by 2030. It’s an ambitious target. But it is achievable if we have the tools we need. That’s why improving the funding stream for TB research and development (R&D) is so urgent.

TB kills more people than any other single infectious disease agent. In 2014, 9.6 million people became sick with TB and 1.5 million died. That’s one person every 21 seconds. And while it’s extremely important to improve diagnosis and treatment rates for TB, there’s another critical element that is required to end the epidemic. The WHO and other experts agree we need new tools, including better treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines, to achieve the SDG target. Yet, R&D for TB is consistently underfunded.

To help raise awareness about the urgent need for these new tools, Aeras is launching this new video for sharing on social media. It’s only about 1.5 minutes long—easy to watch and easy to share. Please help spread the word and raise awareness about this neglected disease and the urgent need for better drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.

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