A new brief calls on decision-makers to prioritize tuberculosis vaccine R&D in all global health and antimicrobial resistance agendas.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a global pandemic that kills 1.6 million people each year, causes over 10 million people to fall sick, and poses catastrophic costs for patients and rising costs for health systems. The growing threat of drug-resistant TB is a major contributor to the global burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and a significant cause of AMR deaths. New vaccines are urgently needed to tackle this crisis. Yet, despite the huge threat posed by drug-resistant TB, political and financial support falls dangerously short of what is needed to effectively address this threat.
In a new brief, the TB Vaccine Advocacy Roadmap (TB Vax ARM) coalition draws on the latest research in health and economic modelling to demonstrate how new TB vaccines could significantly help control drug-resistant TB, in a cost-effective and affordable way. This brief shares a collective call to decision-makers to prioritize TB vaccine research and development (R&D) as a signature piece of global health and AMR agendas. TB vaccines remain neglected in the AMR agenda despite the World Health Organization calling for the highest priority action on TB vaccine development to prevent AMR.
New TB vaccines offer one of the best tools for stopping the spread of drug-resistant TB, reducing the need for antibiotics and reducing the development of drug resistance and onward transmission. Research has shown that vaccines against TB can save millions of lives and mitigate the economic impact of TB-related AMR. The benefits of investing in TB vaccines and the cost of inaction are immense. Introduction of an adolescent/adult vaccine in most high drug-resistant TB burden countries could produce US$283–474 billion in economic benefits by 2050.
On Sept. 22, the United Nation’s (UN) High-Level Meeting on TB will convene world leaders in New York during the UN General Assembly. This critical milestone will set the agenda for the global TB response for the coming years. Alongside proceedings under the India G20 presidency and other key initiatives such as the new EU Global health Strategy, 2023 is a key year to ensure that decision-makers prioritize funding for TB vaccine R&D within all global health and AMR initiatives.
The TB Vaccine Advocacy Roadmap (TB Vax ARM) represents a global coalition of TB stakeholders, including TB survivors, civil society organizations, and non-profits, invested in TB vaccine advocacy and research. The coalition is led by IAVI, the Treatment Action Group, the Stop TB Partnership Working Group on New TB Vaccines, Results UK, the Global TB Caucus, and members of TB-affected communities.