Geneva, Dec 13: A new study commissioned by the
World Health Organization (WHO), predicts high health and economic returns from
investment in new TB vaccines.
A focus on TB vaccine products that
meet WHO preferred product characteristics, could significantly reduce TB
incidence and mortality, improve antimicrobial stewardship and health equity,
and drive economic growth, the research featured in the report ‘An investment
case for new tuberculosis (TB) vaccines’, highlighted.
A vaccine for adolescents and adults
is projected to have a greater and more immediate impact than one for infants.
“Investments in safe and effective TB
vaccines can protect millions of people from falling ill and dying from TB – a
preventable and curable disease, as well as help combat the antimicrobial
resistance crisis,” said Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB
“There are clear economic benefits as
well, with the report highlighting that TB vaccines are highly cost-effective
in countries with a high TB burden and can be cost-saving. For every US$ 1
invested in the full set of interventions for the adolescent and adult vaccine
scenario, we expect US$ 7 in health and economic benefits to be returned to the
economy over 25 years,” she added.
The report presented evidence on how
a more effective vaccine could deliver a higher impact. A TB vaccine for
adolescents and adults that is 50% effective in preventing disease could
cumulatively avert 37.2–76 million people from falling ill with TB and 4.6–8.5
million deaths between 2025 and 2050. In comparison, a vaccine that is 75%
effective could avert 54–110 million people falling ill with TB and 6.7–12.3
million TB deaths during the same period.
Looking at economic benefits, a 50%
effective vaccine could save USD 36.6–41.5 billion in TB-related household
expenditure, which helps avert two-thirds of catastrophic costs incurred by
most people in the bottom wealth quintile. The same vaccine may offer gains in
the gross domestic product of US$1.6 trillion between 2025 and 2080.
TB is one of the world’s leading
infectious killers. In 2021, 1.6 million died from the disease and 10.6 million
people fell ill with TB. Despite being an urgent global health challenge, no
new TB vaccine has been licensed since Bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) over 100