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WHO calls for big investment in tests for TB

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), shortage of adequate testing and diagnosis is the major reason for almost 9 million people getting affected by tuberculosis// every year.

The United Nations agency called for huge investments for developing diagnostics in the low and middle-income countries, where 75% of the screening for TB takes place and around 1.7 million lives are lost every year.

'The world urgently needs new, safe and affordable diagnostics to simplify case detection, Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO's Stop TB Department, said in a statement. 'Most of the world's tuberculosis patients have access only to conventional microscopy which requires repeated testing, may miss half the cases, and which works especially poorly for HIV co-infected patients,' he added.

Sputum smear microscopy is the most commonly available test that detects only 2.2 million TB cases in a year.

The rest are diagnosed through what the WHO said separately is 'an often inefficient and sometimes wasteful combination of chest x-rays, bacterial cultures and guesswork.'

The annual costs for TB screening of around 100 million people is nearly $1 billion. $300 million more is spent on treatment with drugs.

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