The Need for New Vaccines

New drugs, diagnostics and control programs are making progress in reducing deaths from TB, but we are still far from reaching the goals set out in the WHO’s ambitious End TB Strategy. And growing drug resistance means TB is becoming much more difficult and expensive to treat. A new, more effective vaccine that could prevent adolescents and adults (the primary transmitters of TB) from acquiring, developing or spreading the disease would be the single most cost-effective tool in mitigating this epidemic—and the ultimate game changer.

An adolescent and adult TB vaccine with just 60% efficacy delivered to a mere 20% of adolescents and adults globally could prevent as many as 17 million new cases in its first 25 years of use.

 

We will not eliminate TB with the current tools available

We have never eradicated a major infectious disease without an effective vaccine. The only TB vaccine available, BCG, is nearly 100 years old. A single dose given at birth is moderately effective in preventing severe TB in infants and young children, but does not adequately protect them as teens and adults, when they are most at risk for developing and spreading TB.

The world desperately needs new vaccines and vaccination strategies to bring an end to the TB epidemic. Vaccines, along with new drugs and diagnostics, are a key piece of the WHO’s End TB Strategy.

When Will There Be a New Vaccine?

We are making progress, but there are still challenges – including not yet fully understanding what type of immune response a successful TB vaccine should generate. Continuing to explore a diverse range of vaccine candidate types will be essential to success, including those that provoke different immunological responses, use different antigens, and are based on different platforms. But critical breakthroughs simply will not happen without increased investment and sustained global support for TB vaccine R&D.