TB and Mining

Millions of lives are at stake

TB is an airborne infectious disease that impacts the entire world, especially the mining industry and its host nations.

TB is the Biggest Global Killer - Ever

Spread like a common cold, 1 billion people have died from TB over the past 200 years, making it the deadliest infectious disease in history. TB is now responsible for 9 million cases and 1.5 million deaths per year.

Drilling Down

In Africa, the TB crisis is acute. Of the region's 2.6 million TB cases, more than 867,000 (1/3) are connected to mining. TB rates in South Africa are almost 300x higher than rates in the US.

Bacterial Soup

9 out of 10 gold miners in Southern Africa are infected with TB. Worse, a miner with active TB disease can spread it to 10-15 people in a year. Current vaccines and treatment aren’t sufficient to halt the epidemic.

An Industry That Drives The Economy

Mining represents nearly 18% of the GDP in South Africa and more than 1 million jobs. Innovative steps have been taken to combat TB and HIV, yet the force of infection is exceeding capacities and draining resources.

Mining for TB Vaccines

Governments, the mining industry and investors cannot afford the costs of fighting the TB epidemic. Partnerships to support innovation for new vaccines are the only long-term solution.

The Impact

In the 15 Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries, a 60% effective TB vaccine, delivered to 50% of the population, could prevent 3.7 million new TB cases in adolescents and adults over a 20-year period.

Collaboration for Innovation

Public-Private partnerships are crucial to fighting this epidemic. Our collaboration with the mining industry, global health organizations, biotech leaders and policy makers in the gold mines of South Africa is a historic first.

Digging Deeper

Together, we have the power to advance the research and discovery of new, cost-effective TB vaccines. New innovation and vaccine R&D can change an industry, nations and the world.

New TB Vaccines Can Transform Mining in South Africa and Beyond

Mining for TB Vaccines: Infographic

There is river of TB flowing out from the mines, and a vaccine is critical to the global fight against the disease.

Mine workers in sub-Saharan Africa have the highest rates of TB in the world, with more than 867 000 new cases per year connected to the mining industry.

While nations like South Africa produce about 22% of the world’s gold, this production comes at an enormous human and economic cost. Miners’ living and working conditions contribute to these extraordinary high rates of disease, and often occur against the backdrop of geographic regions already struggling with a high burden of TB disease.

Economic Impact

TB treatment costs the South African government and mining industry more than $360 million per year. The industry loses an additional $570 million in productivity costs, while miners lose $320 million per year in lost wages. Reduced productivity and increased costs related to the TB epidemic in mining is threatening the economic viability of Southern Africa’s entire mining sector.

Progress through Collaboration

Leaders of 15 Southern African nations (Southern African Development Community – SADC), have pledged to confront the TB epidemic in the mining industry through investments in treatment and control programs. But these efforts alone cannot eliminate TB as a hazard to miners. The most effective way to protect mine workers and create lasting value for all stakeholders is to fight the epidemic through the use of TB vaccines.

Check out what our partners are doing to raise awareness about TB in the mines:

RESULTS UK - “A Golden Opportunity”

They Go To Die

New Partnerships, New Tools

Governments and the mining industry cannot afford to be without an effective TB vaccine. SADC nations have committed to broad strategies to fight TB, but support for TB vaccine research and development is a necessary component to end the disease epidemic. Aeras is forming new partnerships to do novel research and better understand the burden of TB in the mining community, and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of a TB vaccine.

New vaccine R&D is a natural extension of government and industry healthcare spending, and brings more social responsibility and equity to the mining sector. These new partnerships will lead to more informed science and economics, and enable us to work more effectively toward new solutions to save more lives.

Follow the Conversation About TB and Mining

Go to http://www.aeras.org/blog/category/mining and read the recent posts.

You Can Help

Tell the Southern African Development Community nations to prioritize TB R&D. Sign the petition.

Slide 1: Photo by Eneas De Troya.