Tuberculosis Vaccine Recommendations Launch Update Process

Merck BCG vaccine (VPM1002) against tuberculosis is recommended in 180 countries
young healthy happy boy in school
(Precision Vaccinations News)

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced it is convening a Guideline Development Group to advise on updates to its recommendations on managing tuberculosis (TB) in children and adolescents.

Despite significant progress and greater understanding of the challenges faced in addressing TB in children and adolescents, critical gaps remain in TB case detection and provision of TB preventive treatments, stated the WHO on May 7, 2021.

The first edition of Guidance for national tuberculosis programs on the management of tuberculosis in children was published in 2006. 

In 2014, the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme (GTB) published the second edition of the Guidance for national tuberculosis programs on the management of tuberculosis in children. These 2014 guidelines are now in the process of being updated to incorporate new evidence and knowledge on the management of TB in children and adolescents. 

An operational handbook will be developed alongside the consolidated guidelines on the management of TB in children and adolescents to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations to improve care and outcomes for children and adolescents at risk of TB or with TB. 

At least 1.2 million children under the age of 15 years fall ill with TB every year, and an estimated 67 million are infected with TB and thus are at risk of developing TB disease in the future, says the WHO.

The GDG meeting will be held online in May and June 2021, following WHO requirements to develop evidence-informed policy guidance.

In November 2019, WHO removed a freeze-dried BCG vaccine to prevent tuberculosis from its list of prequalified vaccines for procurement by UN agencies. The decision follows several evaluation activities carried out by WHO to monitor the performance of both the vaccine and its manufacturer, GreenSignal Bio Pharma Pvt Ltd., India.

Merck’s BCG is a vaccine (VPM1002) against tuberculosis, with non-specific protective effects against other respiratory tract infections. The TICE® strain used in this BCG vaccine preparation was developed at the University of Illinois from a strain that originated at the Pasteur Institute.

The BCG vaccine is not commonly administered in the USA.

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