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drug-resistant TB – the quest for vaccines

To coincide with the World Health Organization releasing its annual figures on the state of global tuberculosis at a major event in the US, vaccine scientists from the UK and the US came to London – dubbed the TB capital of Western Europe –to brief journalists at the Science Media Centre on the global effort to develop effective and affordable TB vaccines. 

Vaccines are regarded as the only long-term solution for combating the easily-transmitted disease.

A historic study published in the Lancet six suggested that TB in humans—a disease once thought beatable with antibiotics and good public health—is making a powerful comeback. Based on a comprehensive study of TB in eight nations, the authors reported a significant and unprecedented rise in multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). Concerns about an increase in reported cases of drug-resistant TB in the UK recently led the government to require residents of endemic countries to prove they are free of the pathogen before the UK will grant them a visa for a long-term stay.

Topics covered:

  • Progress and limitations facing current public health initiatives and efforts to slow the spread of TB and MDR-TB globally.
  • The health and economic burden of TB and MDR-TB on people in the United Kingdom, as well as the nations of Asia, Eastern Europe and southern Africa – regions where the disease is exacting its deadliest toll.
  • Why new vaccines are needed to replace the current 90-year-old vaccine (BCG), which is given to high-risk children in the UK but has limited efficacy, and why this search is critical to success in addressing the scourge of TB.
  • Recent progress in TB vaccine development as more than a dozen vaccine candidates with differing platforms and mechanisms undergo clinical trials – including the most clinically-advanced TB vaccine candidate, which was developed in the UK.



Dr Ann Ginsberg, Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Aeras and Consulting Editor, Tuberculosis

Prof Helen McShane, Professor of Vaccinology, University of Oxford

Prof Tim McHugh, Professor of Medical Microbiology, University College London

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