TB experts warn more needs to be done in vaccine development

In the light of a significant rise in the number of drug- resistant tuberculosis cases, expert TB researchers in London recently called for more cost-effective, long-term vaccines to treat the infectious disease.

Troubling new research published in the British medical journal The Lancet suggests that levels of drug-resistant TB may be much higher than previously thought. In addition, the World Health Organization estimates that at least nine percent of multidrug-resistant resistant cases can be considered extensively drug-resistant, according to

"Vaccines are the ultimate long-term, cost-effective solution for addressing tuberculosis," Dr. Helen McShane, a professor at the University of Oxford and the developer of a new TB vaccine candidate, said, reports. "It is important that we continue to develop better drugs and diagnostics to help us rapidly diagnose TB and identify drug-resistant strains, but we must invest in vaccine research now if our ultimate goal is to be able to prevent the disease rather than forever chase growing drug resistance with new drugs."

Dr. Tim McHugh, a professor of medical microbiology at the University College London, said TB vaccine development has made great strides in the last decade, but more needs to be done.

"The development of new treatments and diagnostics are vital for treatment of individuals infected with drug-resistant strains of TB," McHugh said, reports. "But drugs alone will not control the spread of TB and investments in vaccines are essential to protect the wider community."