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Medical News and Perspectives
June 8, 2005

Basic Science Guides Design of New TB Vaccine Candidates

JAMA. 2005;293(22):2703-2705. doi:10.1001/jama.293.22.2703

In 1993, the World Health Organization declared tuberculosis (TB) a global emergency and called on the biomedical community to redouble its efforts to combat this scourge. Designing a better TB vaccine was one of the goals. The hard work of many researchers is now beginning to yield results, with a number of new vaccine candidates in phase 1 clinical trials and more on the way.

About 2 billion people—roughly one third of the world’s population—are estimated to be infected with TB. It remains latent in all but 5% to 10% of those infected—as long as the immune system is healthy. However, in individuals whose immune systems are compromised by HIV, poor nutrition, or other factors, the outlook is much more dire. The disease kills about 2 million individuals annually.

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