New Horizons for TB Vaccines
This is an unprecedented time for TB vaccines.
In the past few years we have seen positive results from two Phase 2b clinical trials, more candidates are entering later-stage development, and there has been progress across the clinical pipeline. Novel vaccine candidates have shown promising results in preclinical models, we continue to enhance our understanding of the human immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection, and more data are available to inform research. This progress has led to a a growing sense of optimism and excitement in the field. At the same time, TB vaccine research and development (R&D) is now being conducted in the environment and context of a global pandemic, presenting challenges and opportunities unlike any we have seen in modern times.
Making new TB vaccines a reality can be achieved with strong political and community engagement, and with increased resources, including funding. Leaders from around the world committed to take action to end the global TB epidemic at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018, including increasing investment in and support for TB research and development, and to meet again in 2023 for a comprehensive review of progress against those commitments. Importantly, in 2022, the 6th Global Forum on TB Vaccines will be convened under the high patronage of a head of state for the first time. Advocates and affected communities are also putting a voice and a face to the urgent need for new TB vaccines that will be affordable and accessible to all who need them.
The theme for the 6th Global Forum on TB Vaccines – New horizons for TB vaccines - reflects the changing global landscape in which TB vaccine R&D is being conducted: the prospect of TB vaccines advancing into late-stage clinical trials and toward licensure, transformative and innovative research to diversify the TB vaccine pipeline and develop the next generation of candidates, increasing political and civil society support for TB vaccines, and the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The road ahead for TB vaccines is an exciting one. Working together, the TB vaccine R&D community – researchers, product developers, country leaders and policymakers, advocates, communities and others – can and must succeed in making new vaccines to prevent TB a reality and contribute to the shared global goal of a world free of TB.