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Washington Post: A killer disease can be cured

It claims more lives than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. TB is also a preventable, treatable, curable disease. Clearly there is an enormous gap here. World leaders are expected to address this chasm at the United Nations next week, and they must do more than give speeches. They need to act. Tuberculosis, an ancient malady, is caused by a bacillus, called mycobacterium tuberculosis, and is spread when people who are sick expel bacteria into the air, usually by coughing. Effective treatments have existed since the 1940s, alleviating in some parts of the world what was once a death sentence. A new report from the World Health Organization shows that in 2016, the global success rate of treatment was 82 percent; the incidence rate is declining; and the share of people with TB who die from it is down to 16 percent, compared with 23 percent in 2000. Yet even with this progress, the alarming fact is that millions of infected people remain undetected and untreated. According to the WHO, there were some 10 million new cases of tuberculosis in 2017, but only about 6.4 million were reported to national authorities and the WHO.

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Donald Graham, son of the Washington Post’s legendary publisher Katharine Graham, was the first to suggest Bezos buy the Post. Bezos, he thought, had the requisites of a promising buyer. Bezos countered that idea; he had no interest in such an investment. By Bezos’s own accord, he wasn’t looking to purchase or invest in the newspaper business at all. He had no knowledge of newspapers. Graham reminded him it wasn’t newspaper expertise they were after, but mastery of the internet. Bezos said he would think about it. “I had to do some soul-searching….Is this something I want to get involved in?” he said . If he did decide to do it, he knew he would have to put "some heart into it and some work into it." The financials of the business weren’t promising. Bezos admitted the business was “upside-down.” As a high fixed-cost business, they were bleeding money.

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