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Fiona fox's blog

TB vaccines- why are they so hard to develop?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that has been around since the pharaohs; but today kills more people than any other infectious disease. In 2015 there were 10.4 million new cases of TB throughout the world and 1.8 million deaths. The overlap with the HIV epidemic and the increasing prevalence of drug resistant cases means there has never been a more urgent need for new tools to control this epidemic. Effective vaccination is the most cost effective way to control any infectious disease, but TB vaccine development is scientifically difficult, slow and expensive.

16 years ago, there were no new TB vaccines being tested in clinical trials, despite a huge global burden of disease. Over the last 16 years there has been significant progress and we now have a pipeline of ~12 candidates being tested in human clinical trials. The first TB vaccine tested in a human efficacy trial failed to demonstrate any effect. With two more trials reporting in Q1 2018, it is critical to manage expectations and continue this scientific momentum, otherwise we will never have an effective TB vaccine.



Prof. Helen McShane, Professor of Vaccinology, University of Oxford, and Senior Fellow, Oxford Martin School

Dr Jacqui Shea, Chief Executive Officer, AERAS

Prof. Mark Hatherill, Professor and Director, South African Yuberculosis Initiative (SATVI)

Dr Helen Fletcher, Associate Professor in Immunology, TB Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Jan Langermans, Deputy Director, Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC), Rijswijk, The Netherlands

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