Lp2a Tuberculosis (TB)

It was estimated that in the last two centuries, tuberculosis (TB) has claimed one billion human lives. They included both my father and my mother. In the early 1940's, three wonder drugs were independently discovered---to each of which the TB bacteria soon developed resistance. Later, John Croften of Scotland administered all these three drugs together. For a while, this combination drug therapy worked and it saved many lives. Then the TB bacteria also developed resistance to the three drugs in combination. Transmitted by air, multi-drug-resistant TB bacteria are hard to control. (See "The Forgotten Plague: How the Battle Against Tuberculosis was Won---and Lost" by Frank Ryan, Little Brown & Co., 1993; see also The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 22, 1996, p. A6, telling a similar won-and-lost story).

On March 21, 1996, the Global TB Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that TB is now the leading infectious killer. On March 31, 1997, the WHO estimated that 50 million people carry the multidrig resistant TB (MDR). "The several million in the devloping world who get active MDR-TB will be as good as dead." "It's like Ebola with wings", warns Richard Bumgarner, deputy director of the WHO's Glocal TB program. "and once the MDR epedemic is created outside our borders, there is no way to protect the U.S." (US New & World Report, March 31, 1997, p.43).