October 10, 2018 – TB Vaccine
Anchor lead: A new vaccine against tuberculosis brings hope, Elizabeth Tracey reports
A new tuberculosis vaccine protects about 50% of the people who receive it from contracting the infection, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found. Richard Chaisson, a TB expert at Johns Hopkins, says this is actually very hopeful news.
Chaisson: For tuberculosis we need a variety of approaches that include diagnosing the people who have it and treating them and curing them, because when they’re treated and cured they’re not going to spread it to anybody else. We need preventive medicines so people who are at risk for getting TB can take medication and they can reduce their risk by up to 90+ percent. But a vaccine is something that would be more broadly applicable to large groups of people who you can’t go out and give drugs to but you can vaccinate them and even 50% protection could be pretty useful. :32
Chaisson notes that flu vaccines are often only about 30% or so effective, but when large numbers of people are given the vaccine others are also protected, and feels sure that continued research will improve the TB vaccine even more. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.