Editor’s Note: This post appeared on our blog on March 24, 2014 and was subsequently removed and reposted. It has been edited from its original version to clarify some points and remove an associated video.
Today, March 24, marks World TB Day.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. While many countries have effective TB programs in place, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a particularly complicated form of TB characterized by resistance to at least two of the standard four-drug anti-TB medicines, is on the rise in many parts of the world.
Progress towards targets for diagnosis and treatment of MDR-TB are far off track. Worldwide, and in most countries with a high burden of MDR-TB, less than 25 percent of the people estimated to have MDR-TB were detected in 2012. An estimated 170,000 people die from MDR-TB globally each year, and the WHO estimates more than two million people will develop MDR-TB between 2011 and 2015.
To change this reality the world should explore new prevention and treatment tools, improved detection and treatment programs, and the prioritization of the disease by public health authorities everywhere. Countries with a high burden of MDR-TB should recognize it as a public health crisis and address it as an emergency.
At Janssen, we aim to make a real and lasting impact on the TB landscape.
For more than a decade Janssen scientists have been building on the legacy of our namesake, Dr. Paul Janssen, to develop transformational medicines to address this most pressing global public health threat.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to work alongside this team of scientists.
In my time working in this area I’ve been touched by the testimony of people who have survived this largely preventable disease and have learned from the dedicated TB community about the hurdles to making lasting change.
I have also come to realize the serious responsibility that I and my Janssen colleagues have before us.
Tackling a public health crisis like MDR-TB is complex, and it demands collaboration across disciplines, from research and development to policy and delivery of care.
To truly turn back the tide on MDR-TB we are proactively engaged in research and development, public-private partnerships and we have followed that by building collaborations around responsible use and distribution to ensure accessibility in countries where it is approved and to preserve its long-term usefulness, particularly in high-burden, low-resource settings.
We believe nothing is more powerful than collaboration. We must all work together to find, treat and cure TB.
On this World TB Day, we salute the incredible network of researchers, patients, industry allies and policymakers already striving to make the eradication of TB a reality, and hope today inspires more partners and other industry stakeholders to join us in the fight.
Myriam serves as Compound Development Team Leader for Janssen Research & Development Infectious Diseases – Diagnostics BVBA. She provides leadership for a cross-functional team responsible for the development of therapies for pulmonary multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Myriam is a member of the Joint Steering Committee for the Janssen/TB Alliance collaboration and coordinator for Janssen’s involvement in the Critical Path to New TB drug regimens (CPTR), set up to accelerate the development of new TB regimens.