Africa: WHO Launches Council to Develop TB Vaccines, Hoping to Save Millions of Lives read full article at

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has unveiled plans to speed up the licensing and use of effective novel vaccines against tuberculosis (TB), the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 and the 13th leading cause of death worldwide.

Tedros announced the creation of the TB Vaccine Accelerator Council at a high-level panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

During his opening remarks, he noted that one of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 response is that innovative health interventions can be delivered fast if they are prioritized politically and financed adequately: no new TB vaccines have been licensed in a century, despite its impact on human health.

“The challenges presented by TB and COVID-19 are different, but the ingredients that accelerate science, research and innovation are the same: urgent, up-front public investment; support from philanthropy; and engagement of the private sector and communities,” said Tedros. “We believe the TB field will benefit from similar high-level coordination.”

No slowing down

The new Council is intended to bring together funders, global agencies, governments and those with TB, in identifying and overcoming barriers to vaccine development.

TB, also known as consumption, is caused by bacteria that mostly affect the lungs. It is spread through the air when someone who has TB coughs, sneezes or spits.

The disease is both curable and preventable, yet, despite global commitments to end TB by 2030, the epidemic shows no sign of slowing down, says WHO.

In 2021, roughly 10.6 million fell sick with the disease, and 1.6 million died from it. Drug resistance continues to be a major problem, with close to half a million people developing drug-resistant TB every year.