World Tuberculosis Day 2024: New vaccines offer hope

Vaccine

The vaccines currently in late-stage development hold promise in tackling the disease burden of tuberculosis (TB), says data and analytics company GlobalData on World Tuberculosis Day 2024.

World TB Day is marked annually on 24 March, the anniversary of the discovery of the causative mycobacterium by Dr Robert Koch. The day aims to raise awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of the disease.

TB remains a global pandemic, with 1.8 billion people estimated to be infected with the bacteria, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This year’s theme is ‘Yes, we can end TB!’ and the focus is on prevention and early diagnosis to achieve this goal.

According to GlobalData, there are 11 vaccines in late-stage development for TB globally. These include the Gamaleya Federal Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology’s GamTBvac 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.

In another approach, in January 2024, the University of Oxford launched a study to compare whether giving Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the current licensed vaccine against TB, by inhalation provides better protection than injection into the skin.

The BCG vaccine is up to 80% effective at preventing TB infection for up to 15 years in young children, but provides poor protection against pulmonary TB in adolescents and adults.

Anaelle Tannen, Infectious Disease Analyst at GlobalData, said: “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. 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.”

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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