More investment is needed to beat tuberculosis, the joint most deadly infectious disease in the world, a coalition of health agencies has said.

It said a target set by the World Health Organization (WHO) to tackle the disease by 2030 would be missed unless action was taken.

In 2014, the WHO recorded 1.5 million tuberculosis (TB) deaths.

The partnership, which includes the WHO as one of its members, said the extra funding would:

  • save more than 10 million lives
  • ensure 29 million people with TB received treatment
  • prevent 45 million people getting ill with TB

'Unacceptable'

TB is the most deadly infectious disease, alongside HIV, figures show.

But most cases of TB can be treated with first-choice antibiotics, and the WHO has called the death rate unacceptable.

Most new cases are in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria or Pakistan.

But the UK has the highest TB rates in Western Europe, according to figures from Public Health England, with 12 cases per 100,000 people.

About tuberculosis

  • Every day, about seven Londoners develop TB symptoms (which include persistent coughing, weight loss and tiredness)
  • Two billion people worldwide are thought to have latent TB infection, but many will never develop active TB unless their immune system is compromised
  • TB patients must take antibiotics daily for six months
  • Those with drug-resistant strains are prescribed an average of 19 pills a day - 14,000 altogether
  • These can have severe, life-altering side-effects, including nerve damage, kidney and liver impairment, and loss of sight or hearing

The WHO has also said in some cases the disease is becoming resistant to antibiotics.

About three in every 100 new cases of TB could not be treated with first-choice antibiotics, it said.

Later this month, politicians from around the world are due to endorse the partnership's plan, at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Cancer, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Source: BBC