Babbage: How to use the pandemic to tackle TB

The pandemic shattered global efforts to control tuberculosis, which was the most lethal infectious disease in the world until covid-19 took its crown. Now, with deaths rising, TB is set to reclaim that dubious honour. But the covid era also holds important lessons for the fight against TB. Can innovations such as genomic sequencing facilities and new vaccine technologies be applied to TB care, too?

Avantika Chilkoti, The Economist’s international correspondent, travels to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to find out why TB is a disease of the poor. Mel Spigelman of the TB Alliance and Lucica Ditiu of the Stop TB Partnership say tackling the disease is a question of political will. Josefina Campos of ANLIS in Argentina explains how genomic sequencing helps monitor TB drug resistance. Author Vidya Krishnan talks about TB’s influence on art and culture. Plus, we examine why doctors are worried about the prospect of a new, highly contagious form of TB that doesn’t respond to existing drugs. Alok Jha hosts.

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