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The Editors

What It Will Take to Finally Defeat Tuberculosis

World leaders think they can end it by 2030. Here's how they could succeed.

TB in Bangladesh.

TB in Bangladesh.

Photographer: Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tuberculosis has been around since before recorded history, yet humanity is still struggling to get the upper hand. In recent decades, some strains have developed resistance to the strongest antibiotics known to medicine. While the number of deaths worldwide has been falling somewhat, TB killed 33 million people from 2000 to 2015, and still infects almost one-quarter of the human population.

So when world leaders say they want to end the epidemic by 2030, they are setting a tight deadline. Meeting it will require a global effort to uproot the disease from its most fertile breeding grounds, and get effective treatments and diagnostic tools to medical workers who need them.