Scientists of the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kouri (IPK), in Havana, develop pre clinical studies of a new vaccine candidate against tuberculosis. Iliana Valdés, IPK, told Prensa Latina that her team adopted the strategy of using Mycobacterium habana, a native Mycobacterium isolated in Cuban laboratories from 1971.
According to the researcher, in animal studies that Mycobacterium has shown that it may protect against tuberculosis and other conditions.”We are at the preclinical stage with laboratory animals and we have to climb towards other models before moving on to human beings,” said Valdes.
She explained, in addition, that “each day there are more strains resistant to the drugs with which this disease is treated. Vaccination with BCG currently available worldwide only protects against severe forms of TB in children and not against pulmonary tuberculosis, which motivates many groups of researchers seeking new vaccine candidates”.
Recently, the World health organization (the WHO) proposed to 33 countries with the lowest incidence of tuberculosis, among them Cuba, to assume the objective to less than reduce the new cases of this disease to ten by million inhabitants in 2035.
According to data from WHO, which seeks to completely eliminate this contagious disease by 2050, the average prevalence of tuberculosis in 33 countries is currently 100 cases for every million inhabitants which represents a total of 155 thousand new cases each year, with 10 thousand deaths among them (30 deaths per day).
Countries where WHO believes that it is possible to eliminate tuberculosis 2035 are – besides Cuba – Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland and Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States and the Palestinian territories.
The director of the Global program on Tuberculosis, Mario Raviglione, who told the press that the list contains several of the world’s richest countries, and added that “in most of them is thought that tuberculosis is a problem of the past, but is not so”. “With globalization and displacement, tuberculosis is a disease that knows no borders,” said the specialist, who also referred to the phenomenon of the MDR-TB drug, requiring very expensive treatment that can be extended by two years, compared with six months in normal cases.
No vaccine is today considered completely effective against tuberculosis, although in countries with high prevalence it continues to recommend vaccinating newborns children or very early with a vaccine that protects them during the infancy of a disseminated form of tuberculosis, but not which attacks the lungs in adulthood. According to Raviglioni, all vaccines undergoing clinical tests in recent years have failed and there are 12 vaccine candidates we are trying to develop in the United States and the United Kingdom ” none ready before ten years, in the best of cases”.