EDCTP and AIGHD launched a global roadmap for tuberculosis vaccine development

20 April 2021

On 20 April 2021, EDCTP and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) have launched a global TB vaccine R&D roadmap at the Virtual Global Forum on TB Vaccines. It identifies priorities for the development and implementation of new TB vaccines with the aim to coordinate and accelerate global action. The project was carried out in close collaboration with the World Health Organization.

With more than 1.4 million deaths a year, TB is a major global public health challenge, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Ambitious global TB control goals have been established, but it is widely recognised that these will not be achieved without safe and effective vaccines. Despite the huge global burden of disease, there is little commercial incentive to develop new TB vaccines – no new vaccine has been introduced since BCG in the 1920s. Addressing the need for new vaccines will require coordinated cross-sectoral partnerships and a focus on “end-to-end” development, from early-stage discovery research through to programmatic implementation.

“Our enduring commitment to actively contribute to a concerted global R&D effort that will ultimately end TB, is the main drive for investing in this very consultative new global TB vaccine roadmap. This launch is timely to leverage recent advances and new opportunities arising from lessons learnt from other diseases such as COVID-19.”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Executive Director

“This roadmap reflects a collective analysis by end-users, implementers, regulators, funders, manufacturers, and researchers of the barriers in TB vaccine R&D and the actions we need to take to overcome them. It lists concrete steps that we strongly hope will be taken by each of these actors. For COVID-19, collective effort has brought tremendous acceleration of vaccine development. Let’s show we can do this for TB as well.”

Prof. Frank Cobelens, Chair of the Executive Board, AIGHD

The Roadmap has been developed through an iterative global consultative process designed to identify the key barriers to TB vaccine R&D and implementation, and potential ways in which they might be overcome. It is intended to provide a shared set of priorities to guide the activities of all stakeholders with an interest in TB vaccine development and use.

The consultation led to the identification of three priorities: 1) diversify the pipeline; 2) accelerate clinical development; and 3) ensuring public health impact. Three cross-cutting enabling factors were also identified: funding, open science and stakeholder engagement.

The Roadmap was launched at the Virtual Global Forum on TB Vaccines during a special session with more than 250 participants that involved researchers, developers, funders, regulators, and other key stakeholders. Development of the Global TB Vaccine R&D Roadmap was supported by EDCTP through a grant to AIGHD. The Roadmap is funded by the EDCTP2 programme under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

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The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health & Development (AIGHD) is a collaborative institute of the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam. Combining biomedical science with social science, economics and legal science, it addresses challenges in global health and development by conducting interdisciplinary research, generating insights and solutions, and educating the next generation of global health leaders.