With active administration of Corona vaccine in several countries, there is hope that we can overcome this pandemic with a less mortality rate. But, the same is not true for TB (Tuberculosis). It is estimated that the number of deaths due to TB each year is more or less the same as the number of COVID deaths which is around 1.5 million. These stats pose a serious threat to the world population.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection that affects the lungs. It spreads when a healthy individual comes in contact with the droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth. TB can be treated when caught early but at the same time can turn life threatening when the person’s immunity is compromised. The antibiotics that are currently used to treat primitive stages of Tuberculosis are effective enough in driving away the infection by developing immunity but only a vaccine could stop people getting infected in the first place.
Reasons for Tuberculosis Deaths
In 1921, after 13 years of research, a vaccine called BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) was introduced. It was then administered to an infant back in time. Fast forward to 2021, BCG is the most trusted vaccine for TB and is administered to millions of babies worldwide as soon as they are born. The only drawback of this vaccine is that it is powerful enough to control Tuberculosis in children and has very little or no effect over the infection in adolescents and adults.
BCG Vaccine to Treat Tuberculosis
In spite of being the only widely-accepted vaccine for TB that has existed in the medical field for 100 years now, there seems to be little information about how the vaccine controls Tuberculosis in children and not in adults. Several factors like limited research facilities, funding, and other challenges in clinical trials limit the development of new vaccines for TB. Moreover, the percentage of cases infected with TB has considerably reduced leading to slower progression in the research of newer vaccines. Only 13 new variants of the TB vaccine have been put forth in the past few decades, which is a very low number considering the fact that 63 new vaccines were developed for COVID-19 within less than a year.
Getting vaccinated in a highly developed country or a developing country is not much of a concern. But, it is essential that the countries with lower development index also get proper vaccination and medical help to eradicate infections such as Tuberculosis.