Report makes the case for new TB vaccines

December 21, 2022 – Investing more financial resources to accelerate scientific progress toward an effective tuberculosis (TB) vaccine will save lives, fight antimicrobial resistance, advance health equity, improve economic growth, and bring a substantial return on investment, according to a new report. 

A World Health Organization study released on December 8 describes the full value proposition for new TB vaccinesAllison Portnoy, a postdoctoral research fellow in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health Decision Science, working under the direction of Nicolas Alan Menzies, associate professor of global health, contributed to the analyses that form the basis of the report.

A focus on TB vaccine products that meet WHO preferred-product characteristics could yield high health and economic returns, particularly in the case of vaccines for adolescent and adult populations, according to the report.

“New TB vaccines could help to reduce the high costs and income losses that most TB patients face,” said Portnoy. “And that really matters in poorer households, where there are greater risks of developing TB and therefore greater potential impact from vaccines. This report shows the wide-ranging impact that new TB vaccines could have.”

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. Today there are at least 16 vaccine candidates in the clinical pipeline but advancing the work has been challenging mainly due to inadequate financing. The report concludes that urgent and increased investment in research and development, together with the rapid introduction and scaling up of use of vaccines, once available, will deliver maximum public health and economic benefits.

Read the report: An investment case for new tuberculosis vaccines