[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 13, 1996

Tuberculosis Research: Balancing the Portfolio

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, Calif.

JAMA. 1996;276(18):1512-1513. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540180068036

Tuberculosis (TB) is a killer with impressive credentials. Over the past 2 centuries, it has killed a billion people.1 Currently it is the leading cause of mortality from a single infectious agent—accounting for 26% of preventable adult deaths in the developing world.2 In the coming decade, it is slated to kill at least 30 million people.3

See also p 1502.

The synergy between the epidemics of TB and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) constitutes a global public health crisis of staggering dimensions. In persons infected with HIV, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis is much more likely to progress rapidly to active disease, which is increasingly difficult to diagnose and more complicated to treat.4 Globally, TB is now the leading cause of death among persons with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), killing 1 of every 3 people who die with AIDS.3 To date, the dual scourge of TB and