Hope for a new Tuberculosis Vaccine
A new cellular target has been discovered that researchers hope will lead to a future vaccine. Currently the BCG vaccine is only effective at preventing infant TB-meningitis. It does not offer any significant protection against the pulmonary TB that causes the bulk of the 2 million annual deaths from the disease.
An important concept in TB is the difference between “infection” and “disease.” In Botswana, some estimate that 80% of population has been infected with TB, although most of them will live their entire lives without symptoms. A TB “infected” person has a lifetime risk of developing active TB disease of 10%. The issue is complicated however, by HIV. An HIV + person, infected with TB, has a annual risk of developing active TB disease of 10%.