John D. McKinney, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), provides an overview of the natural history of TB infection and the global impact of TB on human health.
"Tuberculosis remains one of the most important causes of human disease and death despite the introduction of vaccination in 1921 and chemotherapy in 1952. Although these interventions are inexpensive and widely available their impact is limited. The effectiveness of vaccination is unclear; in clinical trials, the protection conferred by vaccination has been variable and generally poor. Although chemotherapy can be highly effective, multiple drugs must be administered for 6-9 months to provide a reliable cure; the majority of tuberculosis patients are unable or unwilling to complete such a demanding regimen unless closely supervised. The second part of this lecture will discuss the challenges facing development of more effective vaccines and drugs for prevention and treatment of tuberculosis."