Tuberculosis (TB)

Global Scientific Experts Convene in Cape Town to Report on Progress toward Tuberculosis Vaccines

A child being vaccinated
M. Frechon/UN

CAPE TOWN – 25 March 2013 – At a time of growing global concern about the rising level of drug‐resistant strains of tuberculosis in South Africa and worldwide, the world’s top TB vaccine experts are meeting this week, the first time this scientific forum has been held in Africa, where they will present new research aimed at advancing development of vaccines against the deadly airborne disease.

Among the new findings being presented at the conference are the results of modeling study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine that suggest new efficacious TB vaccines for adolescent and adults could alleviate up to 67 million (50‐83) cases and 8 million (5‐12) deaths by 2050 in the 22 high‐burden countries and is cost effective.

Further research results show that within the remit of vaccine research the medium term needs of countries such as South Africa are likely to be best served by developing and testing vaccines that would be effective in adolescents and adults. New TB vaccines are essential if high TB burden countries are to meet the 2050 TB elimination goal.

The Third Global Forum on TB Vaccines brings more than 250 scientists, researchers and TB advocates from all over the world on the heels of World TB Day. The World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria last week called for global action to fill a US$ 1.4 billion annual gap for TB research and development, “including clinical trials for new TB drugs, diagnostics and vaccines.”

"TB elimination can only be possible with intensified research and development particularly for new vaccines,” said Dr. Mario Raviglione, the Director of the WHO’s Stop TB Department. “This area has a major funding gap and we need a wake‐up call to investors to accelerate research efforts to make a potent TB vaccine a reality."

The conference will be held one year after the launch of a new global framework for TB vaccine development. It will provide a rich setting to strengthen collaboration and review progress in several areas including basic research, immunology, and clinical research in TB vaccine R&D.