October 11, 2018 – Need for TB Vaccine


Anchor lead: TB vaccines are needed for the minority of people who can’t fight the infection off, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Most people are capable of fighting off tuberculosis infection on their own, but now a new vaccine offers hope to those who don’t have the ability, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports. Richard Chaisson, a TB expert at Johns Hopkins, reviews the risk.

Chaisson: Not everybody is resistant, and you can have conditions like HIV infection, cancer chemotherapy, other forms of immunosuppression, that increase your risk. But for the average healthy person without conditions that increase risk, 80% or more will fight off TB on their own with no help, because we’ve become immune to it over the centuries. And what we have to do is focus on that 15 to 20% who can’t fight it off, but account for 10 million cases a year of tuberculosis.  :29

Chaisson notes that TB remains one of the top ten causes of death worldwide, with the spread of strains like multidrug resistant and extreme drug resistant tuberculosis of particular concern. He says a vaccine is just one part of a multifaceted approach needed to combat the disease. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.