University of Cape Town: Good and bad news about new TB vaccines

The tuberculosis (TB) vaccine pipeline is depleted with little progress of candidate vaccines through the pipeline in the last few years. This is creating a serious problem for the next decade of vaccine development, warns Professor Mark Hatherill, the director of the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), based at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Addressing the virtual Global TB Vaccine Forum on Wednesday (23 February) in a session on New Horizons for TB vaccines, Hatherill said there was good news and bad news about the TB vaccine pipeline. Quoting figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global TB report 2021, he said, “The good news is that there are nine candidates in Phase IIb and Phase III efficacy trials variously for prevention of infection, prevention of disease, and prevention of recurrent TB indications.” Successful phase III trials are usually required before medicines or vaccines are approved by regulatory authorities.

The bad news, he said, “Is the shape of the pipeline is inverted. If we do not have a successfully efficacious vaccine from one of those nine candidates, there are very few candidates in Phase I and Phase II that would fill those positions in the next five to 10 years.”

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