When concerns about medication resistance arise, Indian healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical businesses accelerate efforts to treat TB.

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When concerns about drug resistance arise, Indian healthcare practitioners and pharmaceutical corporations step up their efforts to control the spread of tuberculosis through early identification and research for new medications. TB poses a serious risk to public health, with an estimated 10 million infections each year. With 2.69 million cases and 4.5 lakh fatalities per year, India has the greatest TB burden. This year’s World TB Day theme is “Put a Complete End on TB,” which is marked on March 24 every year. The pharmaceutical industry and medical professionals agree that point-of-care diagnostics and new medications need to be researched.

Radiology plays a significant role in the diagnostic procedure for tuberculosis identification and control, according to Dr. Arjun Kalyanpur, chief radiologist and founder CEO of Teleradiology Solutions. Contact between patients who have the virus and healthy persons is how tuberculosis spreads. The infectious stage of the illness has specific imaging correlates, such as lung cavities containing infected pus or pneumonia, from a radiological standpoint. X-rays are used to identify patients with active pulmonary TB. To find patients who are infected and unintentionally spreading the disease, it is crucial to screen the community.

We can see that a screening component is necessary for a tuberculosis control programme in order to discover such undetected disease. High-risk locations are screened radiographically. With the current dearth of radiologists, the problem with such mass screening programmes is that they produce a significant quantity of x-rays that are challenging to report. Teleradiology and artificial intelligence both have a significant impact in this situation, according to Dr. Kalyanpur.

Artificial intelligence algorithms that detect lung x-ray findings of TB can also assist radiologists in effectively reporting the large number of x-rays that such screening programmes generate. Teleradiology enables the transfer of the x-rays to the location where the radiologist is available to report them. A significant advancement in TB detection and control is having a mobile x-ray device that travels to endemic areas combined with teleradiology. Thus, he continued, the future of TB control lies in its early detection through mobile x-ray screening programmes supported by teleradiology and AI.

According to Dr. Ambarish Joshi, senior consultant in pulmonary & sleep medicine at Primus Superspeciality Hospital in New Delhi, active TB patients have the potential to infect 5–15 people annually through intimate contact. So, the only option to break this link is through treatment. To this aim, under the auspices of the Revised National TB Programme, the Union government is dedicated to offering high-quality evidence-based therapies. Yet, TB control is a difficult task because of numerous deeply ingrained problems. STOP approach is needed for this: stigma, therapy, outreach, and prevention.

According to a study, more than 2 lakh persons who were diagnosed with TB but were not followed up on left the national TB programme out of fear. People who feel better skip or stop their medication, which develops drug resistance. The needy and the programmes selected for them are not connected enough at the local level, which makes it difficult for them to get services. The spread of TB is fueled by the improper use of preventive measures like cough etiquette, nutrition, health education, ventilation, and counselling. According to Dr. Joshi, only resolving all of these issues will stop the spread of TB.

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