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Vincere la Guerra Contro la Tubercolosi

SEATTLE – Gli esseri umani hanno combattuto contro la tubercolosi sin dall’età della pietra. Ma solo nel secolo scorso si sono compiuti reali progressi contro la malattia. Un vaccino, utilizzato sugli esseri umani per la prima volta nel 1921, è ancora oggi in uso in tutto il mondo. Ed una serie di antibiotici, a partire dagli anni quaranta con la streptomicina, si è dimostrata efficace nel trattamento delle infezioni.

Dal 1990, il tributo annuo di decessi da tubercolosi è stato decurtato quasi della metà. Dal 2000 al 2014, diagnosi e cure migliori hanno salvato circa 43 milioni di vite. Tuttavia, i progressi hanno subito un netto rallentamento, suggerendo che la battaglia è tutt’altro che finita. Negli ultimi dieci anni, il declino annuale dei casi è stato di un mero 1,65%; nel 2014, la tubercolosi ha ucciso 1,5 milioni di persone.

Nel frattempo, ceppi di malattia stanno sviluppando una resistenza ai trattamenti. L’abuso e la cattiva gestione degli antibiotici hanno portato a forme di tubercolosi multi resistente. Questi ceppi devono essere trattati con farmaci di seconda linea, che sono più costosi e spesso causano effetti collaterali peggiori. Sono anche apparsi ceppi resistenti ai farmaci di seconda linea, conosciuti come TBC estensivamente resistente ai farmaci (XDR-TB).

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