Vaccines for young adults to help eliminate TB


London: The target to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2050 is more likely to be met if new vaccines are developed for adults and adolescents and not just for infants, says a study.

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A vaccine given to adolescents and adults in low- and middle-income countries could have a much larger impact on the burden of TB worldwide, the findings of the study by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and World Health Organisation showed.

“If elimination by 2050 is the goal, our study provides evidence that new vaccines should focus on targeting adolescents and adults rather than children,” said lead author Gwen Knight, a research fellow at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in Britain.

TB mostly affects young adults and kills more than one million people every year, 95 percent of whom are in low- and middle-income countries.

The World Health Organisation has set the goal of eliminating TB by the year 2050.

For the study, researchers used a mathematical model to estimate the impact and cost-effectiveness of a range of vaccination strategies in low- and middle-income countries.

Assuming these vaccines become available in 2024, they identified which strategy would have the greatest impact on TB worldwide over the years 2024 to 2050.

The current TB vaccine, bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is widely given to infants. But despite this, TB cases and deaths remain extremely high.

The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.