The BCG vaccine

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The BCG is the vaccine that is most widely used globally. It has a good track record in protecting young people under 16 from TB. However, it's ability to defend adults against the disease is disputed and immunity dwindles after around ten years.

The development of another vaccine is needed to keep people protected into adulthood. Youre targeting the people who are getting ill now, explains Dr Knight. So you'll stop those people getting ill and also stop transmission.

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TB kills more than a million people every year, despite being a completely curable disease with antibiotics. Cases are most common in Africa and Asia, with 95 per cent occurring in poorer countries.

A person can catch TB without it causing disease. It often becomes active in people when their immune system is weakened. This is especially common in Sub-Saharan Africa where nutrition may be particularly poor and HIV is widespread.

Diseases like TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS are even harder to treat when people won't seek out treatment and healthcare centres are swamped. In West Africa, people are avoiding hospitals out of fear of catching Ebola and being taken away from their families.

In light of this Ebola crisis, it is important that research into abolishing TB continues. The health systems in Africa we're already struggling. Even before Ebola struck, Dr Knight says that Sierra Leone had an extremely high TB incidence rate.

We have drugs that can treat TB, Dr Tom Sumer explains, who was also part of the research team. But the health systems aren't necessarily in place to deliver them.

Research into new vaccines is ongoing with a number of candidates currently in clinical trials.

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Posted in Other Health and Medical Post Date 04/26/2015


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