Confronting resistance at 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health

This year marked the 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health, held in Liverpool, UK, and BMC Infectious Diseases was lucky enough to attend.

The annual conference, run by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), includes many aspects of lung health; however the main focus is tuberculosis (TB) research, with this year’s theme being ‘Confronting Resistance: Fundamentals to Innovations’.

Barry Skeates/Flickr
Barry Skeates/Flickr

Given the release of the World Health Organization’s 2016 Global Tuberculosis Report which showed a sizable increase in deaths due to tuberculosis (due to improved reporting of cases) it is clear that much more needs to be done if we are to achieve the End TB goals.

Outside of the specific scientific sessions there was a huge effort towards engaging both the patient and local communities. Alongside the Community Common, which was open to the public, local charities and organizations relevant to the scope of the conference had prominent space to discuss their work and speakers such as Amy McConville, a TB survivor,  ensured that the human side to the diseases was not forgotten.

Given the theme of the conference it was not surprising that multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), was a major focus. As well as many insightful talks on new drugs and diagnostics there was also acknowledgment that we could be doing better with the tools we already have. In addition ways to reduce transmission were discussed, such as the use of UV disinfection in a talk by Edward Nardell, and the upcoming PHOENIx trial highlighted by Gavin Churchyard for investigating reducing household transmission (the primary cause of MDR-TB in children).


It is clear that in order to reduce TB deaths by 95% and to cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035 a huge amount more needs to be done. However we left Liverpool with confidence everything possible will be done by the attendees to meet these targets.

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