May 24, 2022

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COVID-19 research will greatly help development of tuberculosis vaccine

COVID-19 research will greatly help development of tuberculosis vaccine



 

COVID-19 research will greatly help development of tuberculosis vaccine.

Nature: The power of the new coronavirus remains unabated, and tuberculosis is also rampant! How to coordinate the two? Scientists said: The COVID-19 research will greatly help the development of tuberculosis vaccine!

 

Tuberculosis is a disease that is very harmful to human life and health. This disease kills 1.5 million people every year.

It is a disease that requires widespread attention and attention; however, in recent years, due to the COVID-19 epidemic With the global rages, everyone’s energy is mainly focused on how to deal with the COVID-19 virus, how to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, etc.

This has caused a large-scale halt in the diagnosis, treatment and research of tuberculosis in the scientific and medical communities. This situation cannot help but It makes scientists and clinicians feel frustrated and anxious. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19, their research on tuberculosis had been for decades, but now they have been stagnated…


The International Alliance against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease held its annual online meeting last week. In this meeting, the chairman of the alliance, Guy Marks, expressed the voice of many scientists and clinicians. In his speech, he pointed out the current situation.

The world is focusing on the COVID-19 epidemic, and the efforts made in how to fight the COVID-19 virus are undoubtedly dominant, but the side effect of this is that it ignores the research in the field of tuberculosis. People’s research and attention on these two diseases has formed a sharp contrast.

He said: “People like us who are engaged in tuberculosis research have really felt that our tuberculosis field is occupied by COVID-19 research in the past few years of the COVID-19 outbreak. TB research has never received as much attention as COVID-19 research, and the scientific community has not devoted so much attention and effort to this disease. Including when we developed a tuberculosis vaccine, we did not receive as much funding as the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. .”

 

Marks added: “The failure to provide adequate COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries and the failure to end the torture caused by tuberculosis are two aspects of the same thing. They both devalue the lives of people in these poor countries.”

 

Therefore, these scientists once again urged decision makers to resume support for diagnosis, treatment and research projects of other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. And these scientists believe that if the research on the above-mentioned diseases is resumed, their research progress will be considerable, because they can learn a lot from the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine in recent years, learn a lot of experience, and avoid detours. , To achieve better efficiency.

 

They also warned: “If medical institutions, government departments and other institutions continue to pay attention to the new coronavirus and ignore other diseases, what the world will encounter is that more people will die from tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and other infections. Therefore, they begged the government and some other funders not to give up research projects on tuberculosis.

 

However, their warnings were not heeded. At present, not only are more people dying from tuberculosis, but one of the United Nations sustainable development goals is also facing challenges. It now seems very difficult to achieve. This goal is: by 2030, the number of deaths will be 90% less than in 2015. %. This failure will also result in trillions of dollars in losses, and will suffer great setbacks in economic and health aspects. This failure has the greatest impact on sub-Saharan Africa.

 

A key issue is that there are fewer and fewer professional medical personnel capable of diagnosing and treating tuberculosis. As a result, the number of people diagnosed with this disease has dropped from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020. According to the latest TB report released by the World Health Organization this month, India, Indonesia and the Philippines are the most affected countries.

 

At the same time, funding for research projects on these diseases in various countries is shrinking. In 2020, the global expenditure on tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment and prevention services will drop from 5.8 billion U.S. dollars to 5.3 billion U.S. dollars; in addition, the World Health Organization has previously set a global expenditure of 13 billion U.S. dollars per year in the field of tuberculosis by 2022. Target, and the current total expenditure in this area is less than half of this target! The funding for tuberculosis research projects is only half of the funding needed!

The WHO has set a separate target for this purpose, that is, funding for tuberculosis in 2018-2022 should reach US$2 billion per year; however, this target is dwarfed by the total funding for tuberculosis research in 2019 It is only US$901 million. In contrast, the National Institutes of Health alone has allocated US$4.9 billion in funding for research on the COVID-19. This difference is undoubtedly very different.

 

Some conference delegates suggested that the above-mentioned problems could be improved by reducing the original goal of diagnosing and treating tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, but this is absolutely undesirable.

Although dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic around the world is now undoubtedly the top choice for political leaders, wealthy countries and donors participating in charitable projects, research in the scientific community in recent years has also shown that they can also deal with the COVID-19 at the same time. Carry out research on infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

Their thoughts were also recorded in an article titled “The COVID pandemic must lead to tuberculosis vaccines” in “Nature” magazine:

 

COVID-19 research will greatly help development of tuberculosis vaccine

 


In the field of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases that the scientific community is about to invest in, they must learn lessons from this experience in the study of the new coronavirus, such as the use of emerging technologies such as mRNA and the use of advanced platforms to make vaccines.

In the research of the new coronavirus and the development of the new coronavirus vaccine, they have obtained many methods that are worth learning, such as: how to make a fast and reliable diagnosis, how to use advanced sequencing methods, and some new vaccines and treatment methods. Any progress made in clinical trial capabilities can be applied to research on tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

 

The tuberculosis vaccine people received today is essentially the same as the Bacillus (BCG) vaccine introduced in July 1921. The COVID-19 pandemic shows that as long as there is sufficient funding for research in the field of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, and full support from the government, a new and effective vaccine can be produced within a year.

 

 

 

 

Reference:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02892-x

COVID-19 research will greatly help development of tuberculosis vaccine

(source:internet, reference only)


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