Today is World TB Day, and this is the 36th edition since it was first inaugurated on 24th March 1982 by WHO and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). 135 years ago, Robert Koch presented perhaps the most important of his multiple seminal works, “Über Tuberkulose”, to the scientists gathered at the Physiological Society of Berlin, and stunned them into silence. He had apparently re-assembled most of his laboratory in that room for that presentation, after which his peers could peer through the microscopes and look at the tissue samples to see the germ that caused the same disease manifestations in humans, guinea pigs, apes and cattle (and could be passed between species).

Screenshot from Robert Koch’s paper describing his discovery of the TB germ.

The full paper (in German) is available here.

We still have a long way to go before TB is eliminated in the world. I am glad that some of us contributed to couple of opinion pieces in the Singapore mainstream media today – Straits Times and TODAY – as well as to an online regional news platform, BRINK News. We are grateful that the editors were willing to consider such pieces and to publish them on pretty short notice.