The Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative in Lelystad, Netherlands, has announced a three-year, $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of its efforts to build awareness and support for tuberculosis vaccine research and develop safer, more effective vaccines.
TBVI hopes to raise €200 million during the next ten years from governments, foundations, and private industry for the discovery and early clinical development of new vaccines. Such developments are crucial because the only existing vaccine, BCG, is not effective in young adults — the group most affected by the disease.
The organization provides support for a growing international network of more than thirty universities, institutes, and industries involved in research and development of new TB vaccines. Nearly 1.8 million people each year die as a result of TB, which is estimated to have infected two billion people around the world. Most of these people develop a latent infection, with about a 10 percent risk of developing the disease later in life.
"New vaccines are essential to achieve the international aim of a TB-free world in 2050," said TBVA director Jelle Thole. "We need several types, not only for initial protection against TB but also to boost adolescent immunity and prevent disease in latently infected individuals. To enable development of these vaccines, more investment is needed."