Tuberculosis has rebounded after years of decline, killing an estimated 1.6 million people in 2021, up 14 percent in two years, new World Health Organization figures showed Thursday. TB, which was overtaken by Covid-19 during the worst of the pandemic as the world’s biggest infectious killer, claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives in 2020 and 1.4 million in 2019. And the WHO blamed the resurgence of the disease on the pandemic, saying the crisis had had a huge and ongoing impact on access to diagnosis and treatment. “Globally, the annual estimated number of deaths from TB fell between 2005 and 2019, but the estimates for 2020 and 2021 suggest that this trend has been reversed,” the UN’s health agency said in its annual Global TB report. Most of the estimated increase in TB deaths globally was accounted for by four countries: India, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. The report said it was possible that TB would “once again be the leading cause of death worldwide from a single infectious agent, replacing Covid-19”. But Mel Spigelman, president of the non-profit TB Alliance, told AFP last week that that had already happened, comparing the annual TB death rate to the latest Covid-19 figures.