A global cooperation project to fight the spread of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a serious international public health threat, was started in Beijing on Friday.
The global effort will cover India, Russia and South Africa and benefit from the expertise and resources of the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Brigham Women's Hospital (BWH), an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. It is aimed at increasing the number of trained personnel and drugs available to confront the growing MDR-TB danger.
As a partner of the project, the US-based Eli Lilly and Co. will inject 560 million yuan (US$67 million) to check this potential global health emergency, which includes the transfer of technology to China and India to produce antibiotics to fight MDTR-TB.
According to the WHO, roughly 400,000 new cases of MDR-TB are reported in more than 100 countries each year. It is estimated that the average MDR-TB patient infects up to 20 other people in his or her lifetime.
In China, approximately five million people have active TB, a leading infectious cause of death, with an estimated 130,000 deaths per year.
MDR-TB occurs during the initial stages of TB treatment in about 18.6 percent of patients. It is especially threatening because potentially resistant strains can emerge for which there are currently no effective treatments.
(Xinhua News Agency June 7, 2003)