BCG Vaccine Protects Kids Against Tuberculosis, Not Adults

Sep, 2022 - by CMI

Research has shown that the BCG vaccination given at birth does offer a strong defence against TB disease, and only in young children under the age of five. In this trial, the vaccine didn't offer any protection to adults or adolescents.

The BCG vaccine is old and widely used, regardless of the fact that there is still much controversy regarding how well it prevents tuberculosis. How long immunity might continue after being given in utero is the question that arises. The age at which these new vaccines should be given to high-risk populations is a crucial factor to take into account when proposing new TB vaccines to boost the BCG vaccine. Nevertheless, fresh information and clarification on these topics are offered by a recent study lead by a researcher from the Boston University School of Public Health. On August 1st of this year, this study appears in The Lancet Global Health. Based on the study, infant BCG vaccination does offer appreciable treatment against TB illness. Only kids under the age of five experience it.

The only vaccination ever used to treat TB, which affects more than 10 million people annually, is BCG, which has been around for almost 100 years. Martinez and coworkers used individual-level data from 26 longitudinal studies with over 70,000 individuals presenting to TB between 1998 and 2018 for the analysis. The study examined at how the BCG vaccine affected all types of TB disease as well as pulmonary and extrapulmonary TB particularly. It took into account a number of potentially skewed variables, including the presence of HIV, contact status, and prior TB history. The vaccine's ability to protect against disease in adults or children older than 10 was not conclusively demonstrated by the researchers. BCG vaccine was 19% effective when only considering pulmonary TB, however this result also only applied to early childhood.

The experts emphasise the importance of making a significant investment in the creation of a TB vaccine for the control of TB worldwide. The researchers are studying a variety of intriguing TB vaccine candidates in the hopes that one or more of them may prove successful.