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Vaccination will prevent millions of TB cases yearly – Expert

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Dr Ujuwa Choukwa, a Virologist, has assured that vaccination against Tuberculosis


(TB) will expand the age-long fight against the disease.

Choukwa told Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Abuja that a TB vaccine is being sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates

Medical Research Institute “and if successful, it will go a long way in addressing the scourge.”

She said that TB, a bacterial infection often seen in the lungs, infects about 10 million people annually, killing about 1.5 million.

She said “a live attenuated vaccine in use for nearly a century called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin prevents severe disease in infants and young children,

but gives limited protection to adolescents and adults.

“Mid-stage testing has shown that Glaxo’s experimental shot can be effective in about half of people who get it for as long as three years.”

The virologist said that the vaccine would, hopefully, provide long-term protection against the disease.

According to her, as most people who are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis do not get TB, the believe is that infection confers some degree of protection.

“As a result, it is really exciting and thoughtful of the research institute to sponsor this vaccine,” she said.

She added that the new vaccine against tuberculosis would bring prevention of the deadly disease to Nigeria and other poor countries.

The virologist said it was time to deepen multisectoral partnerships and expand Nigeria’s preparedness to scale access to the vaccine, once approved.

She explained that “the development of any successful vaccine takes time, determination, and many contributors,” stressing that the

Bill and Melinda Gates group would lead development of the vaccine candidate and sponsor future clinical tests.

The Gates group is leading the development of the vaccine candidate and has committed to sponsoring future clinical tests in conjunction with London based Glaxo.

Philip Thomson, Glaxo’s President for Global Affairs, said “with such alliances, we can take a more sustainable approach to global health.

“We shall focus more efforts and expertise on science and research, while partnering with others to ensure development and delivery.”

Glaxo has been involved in product development programmes to focus on the most lucrative opportunities, such as cancer drugs.

The company offloaded its vaccines against Ebola virus to the Sabin Vaccine Institute in August.

TB is the leading killer of people with HIV, and Glaxo shot has been developed in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

The vaccine contains an engineered protein that is modeled on those of tuberculosis.

It is boosted with the company’s AS01 adjuvant, which is designed to heighten the body’s immune response and better prepare it for bacterial infection.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu



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Abujah Racheal: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng