The U.S. Government (USG) Tuberculosis Strategy and the Role of Germfree’s Shipping Container TB Labs in Increasing Lab Capacity
Germfree designed the Shipping Container TB Laboratory to provide an innovative yet cost-effective and practical solution that meets the USG goals to “…support upgrading of laboratory services and biosafety and laboratory capacity building”.
According the document Lantos-Hyde United States Government Tuberculosis Strategy, released March 24, 2010, “Tuberculosis (TB) is a global health emergency that must be addressed with immediate and aggressive action. This disease is a major worldwide public health threat that kills approximately 1.8 million people each year, the majority of whom are in the lowest income quintile. In addition, more than one-third of the world’s population is thought to be infected with latent TB. While TB is found in almost every country in the world, 80 percent of the estimated cases occur in 22 high-burden countries. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), including extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), threatens to undermine recent progress in controlling the disease.”
“In response to the urgent need to control the spread of TB, the U.S. Congress passed the 2008 Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act (Reauthorization Act) supporting a substantial increase in U.S. Government (USG) funding for TB treatment and control over a five-year period.”
Some of the key interventions indicated by the USG strategy include: Accelerated detection and treatment of TB in up to 25 countries; working to ensure that there is full coverage of DOTS services; laboratory networks are fully functional; effective monitoring and surveillance; implementing infection control measures; conducting routine surveillance at the country level and strengthening laboratory systems.
According to the report “Currently available tools that can improve detection of TB (such as liquid culture, line-probe assays, and enhancements to smear microscopy) require a more rapid introduction at the country level. These tools have the potential to improve significantly approaches to TB diagnosis; however, because of limited funding and poor laboratory capacity, these tools are not being adopted quickly enough.”
According to the USG TB Strategy a key component is “…upgrading of laboratory services and biosafety and laboratory capacity building and the introduction of currently available rapid diagnostic tests (not widely used in developing countries) to detect drug-resistant TB cases. New diagnostic tools will be introduced as they become available.”
The Germfree Container TB Lab represents a public and private coordination in solving an important global health concern