June 20, 2024

11 Tuberculosis Vaccines Advancing to Final Stages of Development, Potentially Aiding Disease Control

Eleven vaccines against Tuberculosis (TB) are currently in phase II and III stages of development, which may be key to curbing the rising disease burden globally, said a report on Friday, ahead of World TB Day on March 24.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB affects an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide and is also one of the leading causes of death globally.

The report from GlobalData, a data and analytics company, revealed that the 11 vaccines against TB include “the Gamaleya Federal Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology mTBvac and the University of Zaragoza’s MTBVAC, both of which are currently in Phase III development and have demonstrated positive safety and efficacy results in clinical trials”.

“Progress in this area has the potential to save countless lives as well as reduce the health and socio-economic burden associated with this disease,” said Anaelle Tannen, Infectious Disease Analyst at GlobalData, in a statement.

Chronic cough and bloody mucus are the major symptoms of TB, however, some are also present without these symptoms. Early detection is of utmost importance, which can help start a six-month course of antibiotics coupled with proper nutrition to help control the infection.

“Prevention and early diagnosis are key to stopping the ongoing spread of the disease. The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is currently the only prophylactic on the market. It is given to babies in countries where TB is common. In areas where TB is less common, it is only given to those at high risk, including those that are more likely to be exposed to the bacterium,” Tannen said.

The 100-year-old BCG vaccine is up to 80 per cent effective at preventing TB infection for up to 15 years in young children. However, its protection wanes against pulmonary TB in adolescents and adults. Thus, there is an urgent need for updated and improved prophylactic vaccines.

“Governments worldwide must come together to combat this deadly disease. Increased investment, improved awareness, and adoption of WHO recommendations are essential to reduce the burden of TB over time,” Tannen said.

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