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WHO to set up Council to accelerate development of TB vaccines

WHO plans to establish TB Vaccine Accelerator Council. The Director-General of the organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced, UN News reports.

It is noted that the Council will help overcome barriers to the development of new TB vaccines, as well as their licensing and early use.

Currently, the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, developed in 1921, is the only licensed TB vaccine. While BCG provides moderate efficacy in preventing severe forms of TB in infants and young children, it does not adequately protect adolescents and adults, who account for nearly 90 per cent of TB transmissions globally.

WHO recently commissioned a study on investing in new TB vaccines, which estimates that over 25 years, a vaccine that is 50 percent effective in preventing disease among young people and adults could avert up to 76 million TB cases.

Furthermore, every dollar invested in a 50 per cent effective vaccine could generate an economic return of $7 in terms of averted health costs and increased productivity. Additionally, some 8.5 million lives could be saved, as well as $6.5 billion in costs faced by TB-affected households, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.

Meanwhile, a vaccine with 75 percent efficacy could avert up to 110 million new TB cases and 12.3 million deaths.