One would think it was ripped from today’s headlines: a deadly respiratory disease sweeps across the world—killing one person every 22 seconds. But this disease is not COVID-19. The threat is tuberculosis (or TB), which has flourished for centuries thanks to the ability of the bacteria that cause the disease (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) to quickly spread from person to person through the air that we breathe. Even though treatments exist, TB can easily become a chronic or fatal condition if left unchecked. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2019, 10 million people became ill with TB, and 1.4 million people lost their lives to the disease—a serious, even silent pandemic that is deadlier than HIV.
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