Vice President calls for developing new and long-lasting vaccine to combat TB


New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has called for developing a new and long-lasting vaccine to combat TB, which was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2018.

Inaugurating ‘The 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health’ in Hyderabad today, he referred to the contention that the effect of BCG vaccine being administered for TB does not last for many years and said there was an absolute need for a booster vaccine or a new vaccine that is effective and long-lasting. The four day Conference is being attended by the delegates from 130 countries.

He expressed happiness that the Indian Government has initiated trials for testing new candidate vaccines.

Calling for addressing various causes that spread TB, including poverty and overcrowding, Shri Naidu said that prevention was the most effective way to control the spread of TB and said that more efforts were needed in that direction. Lifestyle disorders such as diabetes also increase the risk of TB, he pointed out.

Stressing the need for improved diagnostics to detect TB in organs other than lungs, he said that TB treatment saved around 58 million lives globally between 2000 and 2018 and the TB mortality rate fell by 42% during that period.

Expressing concern over the rising incidence of respiratory and lung-related diseases due to air pollution, he observed that exposure to ambient air pollution could lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma.

Shri Naidu called for measures to arrest this pressing problem by adopting a multipronged approach to reduce emissions of harmful gases, especially which come under PM 2.5 levels.

Quoting WHO data, he said ambient (outdoor air pollution) was a major cause of death and disease globally. An estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally are linked to ambient air pollution, mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children.

Lauding the government for adopting a multi-sectoral and community-led approach to eliminate TB from India by the year 2025, Shri Naidu urged the private sector to step up its efforts towards achieving the goal of eliminating TB by actively collaborating with the government.

Stating that Government of India was in the forefront of global action to end the emergency on account of the prevalence of Lung Disease and Tuberculosis, he said that the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has pledged a firm commitment to eradicate TB by the year 2025

Referring to the positive outcomes of initiatives such as the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) that brought down TB incidence in India at an annual rate of 1.7%, the Vice President said Public and Private sector must work together to reach out to more TB patients and provide them affordable treatment.

Describing Telangana as a dynamic and growing hub for innovative medical science and biomedical industry, the Vice President called upon the business leaders in the state to play a more pro-active role in supporting Research and Development in treatment, care and prevention of TB.

Observing that non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart attack were accounting for huge spending by households, Shri Naidu said the problem could be surmounted to a large extent by ensuring Universal Health Coverage where every individual gets quality treatment without facing any financial hardship

He said that programs such as AayushmanBharath were a step in the right direction to provide comprehensive insurance coverage to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.

The Governor of Telangana, Dr.TamilisaiSoundararajan, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Shri Ashwini Kumar Chowbey, the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Govt of Telangana, Shri EtelaRajendar, Dr.Jeremiah, President of the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, Mr.Louis Castro, Shri M.Venkateshwarlu, President, TFCCI were among those present at the event.