15 July 2021, Geneva, Switzerland - Experts from the Stop TB Partnership, researchers, and civil society representatives called on world leaders today to deliver new, effective, safe, equitable, and affordable tuberculosis (TB) vaccines by 2025. On the 100th anniversary of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, currently the only vaccine in existence against TB, the group of experts pointed to the funding gap needed to achieve this goal, with only US$117 million invested in TB vaccine research in 2019, against a target of at least US$550 million per year over a period of four years to achieve the 2025 deadline. By comparison, COVID-19 vaccine research received over US$100 billion in funding over the past year.
The BCG vaccine—which was first administered on July 18, 1921, has proven effective against TB meningitis and in protecting against severe TB in infants and young children. However, it offers variable and mostly poor protection against lung disease in adolescents and adults, the populations that are more likely to spread TB in the community. Every year, an estimated 10 million people get sick with TB, the majority living in developing countries.
“What the world has achieved in the past year with regards to the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is astonishing and worth celebrating,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. “Now is the time to invest the same level of energy and funding into developing new vaccines for another airborne, deadly infectious disease—tuberculosis—which has been around for millennia and still kills more than 4,000 people every day, including 700 children. Today, we call on the world to provide sufficient financial resources and political will by 2023 to allow for the rollout of an effective TB vaccine by 2025. Lessons learned from recent pandemics clearly show that it is possible.”
BCG CAMPAIGN MATERIAL AND HOW YOU CAN HELP US RAISE AWARENESS OF THE NEED FOR NEW TB VACCINES
To mark the 100th anniversary of the BCG vaccine, the Stop TB Partnership, IAVI, TAG, RESULTS UK, TB WOMEN, TB PEOPLE, Working Group on New TB Vaccines, and the Global Coalition of TB Activists launched a campaign to demand world leaders follow through on their promise to deliver new TB vaccines as soon as possible.
LIVE ON FACEBOOK
On 13 July 2021, the Stop TB Partnership and partners discussed live on Facebook why 100 years on the sub-optimal BCG remains the only available TB vaccine and why we need new TB vaccines by 2025.
Watch the live discussion here.
TAKE ACTION TO REACH DECISION-MAKERS
As part of the BCG 100th anniversary campaign, Stop TB and campaign partners are sending letters to G20 Ministers of Science, Health, and Finance, calling on them to step up funding for TB vaccines. Help us reach out to decision-makers by downloading a template letter here and sending it to political leaders in your country.