Children Also Suffer from Tuberculosis


Washington DC (Precision Vaccinations)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently stated Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers.

Until the recent pandemic, the bacterium that causes TB was described as “the most destructive pathogen on the planet.”

Despite being vaccine-preventable, treatable, and curable, TB continues to kill more people each year than HIV and malaria combined, says USAID.

Recently, the UN health innovation initiative Unitaid warned on July 19, 2023, that failing to implement TB contact tracing and prevention could lead to close to one million deaths by 2035.

A joint study by Unitaid, John Hopkins University, and the Aurum Institute found that implementing an innovative TB strategy could save 850,000 lives by 2035, most of which could be children.

While many evidence-based and scientific interventions (vaccination) have been developed to combat TB, outbreaks continue in the U.S. in 2023. On May 9, 2023, the U.S. CDC reported TB cases increased by 5% last year, particularly among young children.

During 2022, about 8,300 cases were identified in the U.S.

For example, as of July 31, 2023, seven poultry workers in Alabama were confirmed or suspected of TB disease. The Alabama Department of Public Health cautions that these individuals may have been or currently be at risk for contracting TB.

And in Texas, TB cases increased by about 10% in Houston last year. Compared with 2021, epidemiology data characterized more TB cases were among non–U.S.-born persons.

From a TB treatment perspective, Johnson & Johnson granted the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility’s licenses on July 13, 2023, empowering Global Drug Facility to tender, procure, and supply generic versions of SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for the majority of low-and middle-income countries.

Furthermore, from a TB prevention perspective, Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced $550 million in funding to advance a new tuberculosis vaccine candidate. 

As of August 5, 2023, numerous Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination programs are active globally, as well as vaccine candidate studies.

However, Merck’s BCG vaccine has limited availability in the U.S. and is considered for people who meet specific criteria.