New TB vaccines needed, conference reports

The Bangladesh New Nation reports that new tuberculosis vaccines are promising but need to be researched far more before they become available to the public.

The New Nation reports that scientists gathered at a conference last week in Zaragoza, Spain, said that a new TB vaccine is needed as soon as possible, since the current vaccine - BCG - does not stem the virus in adults or in newborns infected with HIV.

There are approximately 2 million tuberculosis-caused deaths per year and about 9 million new cases reported every year, according to the report.

"I don't need to remind people here of the state of the problem," Dr. Ann Rawkins of the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response of the Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom, said, according to The New Nation. "The international goal of elimination of the [TB] disease by 2050 can not be reached unless we get new diagnostic tests, new drugs and new vaccines. A large number of new vaccine candidates are currently at various stages of development."

Douglas Young, the Fleming Professor of Medical Microbiology at the Imperial College in London, said that researchers must look into different ways to fight TB than what is currently being studied, according to The New Nation.

Young said most TB vaccines being developed, like BCG, are trying to increase the body's immune system response. "But it might as well be that the vaccines we're making at the moment are exactly the vaccines TB wants us to make," Young said, according to the report.