Can Vaccines Empower World Tuberculosis Day

Tuberculosis mortality reduced with BCG vaccine in 2024
TB vaccinations 2024
US CDC Tuberculosis deaths in the United States 2024
Geneva (Precision Vaccinations News)

As World Tuberculosis Day is recognized today, health leaders are worried about the increasing number of TB cases in industrialized countries.

While TB outbreaks are typically associated with countries like India, the United States (U.S.) has also experienced an increase in the number of TB cases and deaths over the past three years.

In 2022, the U.S. reported 8,331 TB cases, representing a 5.9% increase compared with 2021.

Specifically, four international gateway states, California, Texas, New York, and Florida, reported about 50% of all TB cases in the U.S.

Furthermore, being born outside of the U.S. remains a key risk factor for TB, with a TB incidence rate 17.1 times higher compared with U.S.-born persons in 2022. 

To reverse these negative trends, the global pharmaceutical industry is working hard to develop new, more effective TB vaccines that meet the World Health Organization's (WHO) goal.

The World TB Day 2024 message of hope is... 'Yes! We can end TB!'

On March 22, 2024, Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Program, wrote, "As we come together to commemorate World TB Day, we stand in solidarity with the millions of people who fall ill with TB each year and remember the millions who have lost their lives from this preventable and curable disease."

"This is a pivotal moment for the global fight to end TB."

"We have strong commitments with concrete targets, made by world leaders in the political declaration of the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on TB, which provide a strong impetus to accelerate the TB response."

"2024 is a year of action to ensure these commitments are met, and millions of people benefit from life-saving TB prevention and care services.

As of March 2024, about 16 versions of the bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine are used to protect people from TB.

The WHO says BCG is one of the most widely used of all current vaccines, reaching about 80% of infants in countries where it is part of childhood immunization programs.

While the BCG vaccine has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children, it does not prevent primary infection and, more importantly, does not prevent the reactivation of latent pulmonary infection, the principal source of bacillary spread in the community.

Recent advances in mycobacterial immunology and genomics have stimulated research on numerous new experimental TB vaccines. As of March 24, 2024, an expanding group of TB vaccine candidates is conducting clinical research.

Still, it is unlikely that these urgently needed vaccines will be available for routine use within the next few years, says the WHO.

In the meantime, the WHO says that optimal utilization of the BCG vaccine is encouraged.

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