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 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 protects 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.