ROCKVILLE, MD, USA, October 31, 2014 – Aeras launched TB Unmasked, a new campaign to raise awareness about the risks healthcare workers face on the front lines of the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, today at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona.
The campaign features a five-part film that profiles the personal and moving experiences of healthcare workers around the world as they risk their lives caring for others. Healthcare workers in countries with a high-burden of TB face an increased risk of developing this deadly disease, from two to 12 times higher than the general population, according to years of scientific research, including new data presented at the Union World Conference.
The campaign website, TBunmasked.org, will feature the film, resources for healthcare workers about best practices for protection, and a platform for sharing individual experiences working amidst the global TB crisis.
“The ebola epidemic has focused public attention on the risks that healthcare workers face every day,” said Thomas G. Evans, M.D., Aeras President and CEO. “The TB epidemic threatens healthcare workers with one of the most deadly infectious diseases in the world, responsible for approximately 4100 deaths every day.” The World Health Organization estimates that in 2013, nine million people developed TB and 1.5 million people died from the disease.
Healthcare workers can protect themselves by following best practices for infection control procedures and personal protection, “but a vaccine is urgently needed to protect healthcare workers and patients from this epidemic,” adds Evans.
The TB Unmasked campaign aims to focus public attention on this critical global health issue and the need for new tools, such as vaccines, to combat TB.
Aeras is a nonprofit biotech advancing the development of tuberculosis vaccines for the world. In collaboration with global partners in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, Aeras is supporting the clinical testing of six experimental vaccines as well as a robust portfolio of earlier stage candidates. Aeras receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Australian AID, and a range of other governments. Aeras is based in Rockville, Maryland; Cape Town, South Africa; and Beijing, China. www.aeras.org