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World TB day: It’s time to accelerate the TB response to save lives and end suffering

It’s time to accelerate the TB response to save lives and end suffering by building on and learning from promising results in vaccine development and strengthening the existing collaborative Research & Development on TB vaccines.

Tuberculosis kills more people than any other pathogen and remains one of the biggest global health burdens, with ten million new TB cases each year and 1.6 million TB-related deaths.

Three European consortia have led the innovation and development of vaccines against TB and have delivered an important contribution to the diversification and expansion of the global TB vaccine pipeline:

  • The TBVAC2020 consortium was able to test 44 vaccine candidates or formulations beyond initial proof-of-concept studies. Of these, 13 candidates were identified as promising, with seven demonstrating improved efficacy as compared to BCG in animal models. Several vaccine candidates that have progressed through the pipeline and are now being tested in phase II and phase III efficacy trials, originated from predecessor programs of TBVAC2020.

  • EMI-TB, focusing on mucosal immunity, has accelerated early-stage vaccine development, which resulted in three new mucosal TB vaccine candidates.

  • Strituvad is advancing computer modelling and simulation to accelerate the development and the evaluation of TB vaccines, and potentially reduce their time-to-market. This will shorten the duration of therapy and reduce the costs and the numbers of enrolled patients of clinical trials.

These activities and outcomes show that the diverse and broad approach of including novel concepts and vaccine strategies, the preclinical evaluation structure, including independent testing and the use of stage gating criteria, has worked. Thanks to this, promising candidates have moved forward in the TB vaccine preclinical development pipeline and are ready to move to clinical development.

Effective and affordable TB vaccines for all target groups are essential to tackle TB and to reduce the TB disease burden caused by both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB strains. Continued progress will depend upon stimulating innovation targeted at further diversifying the vaccine pipeline.

Strengthening partnerships and creating new opportunities in different areas will be essential to accelerate progress. These include:

· New partners and public-private collaborations,

· Use of innovative vaccine platforms and technologies,

· Refinement of the candidate vaccine selection process,

· Evaluation in new models for TB disease indications,

· Global expansion of clinical study sites for vaccine efficacy evaluation

· Development and validation of correlate biomarkers.

For more information:

· For more information about World Tuberculosis Day 2020 please visit the WHO website

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