Tuberculosis (TB) "is the second leading cause of death due to infectious disease worldwide; taking approximately 1.4 million lives in 2011 alone," Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a co-chair of the TB Elimination Caucus, writes in an opinion piece in The Hill's "Congress Blog," adding, "The good news is that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halt and reverse the TB epidemic by 2015 has already been achieved in several regions of the world." He notes "advances have been made in TB diagnostics with the increased availability of Xpert, a new test that detects the disease -- including in HIV-positive people -- within 100 minutes." However, he continues, "[W]e cannot defeat the disease without the introduction of faster drug susceptibility tests and new drugs and vaccines."
"Continued U.S. leadership is crucial to building on the progress we have made against TB," Engel writes. He highlights a number of bipartisan U.S. initiatives, including the Lantos-Hyde Global HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2008, "which included a historic U.S. commitment to global TB control through its support for the Global Plan to Stop TB," and the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2008, "which renewed efforts to eliminate the disease in the U.S." Engel concludes, "I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner through the TB Elimination Caucus to build on the progress we have made against TB both in the U.S. and globally" (12/17).