Explained: What’s at stake in India’s biggest ever trial of tuberculosis vaccines

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  1. Recently,the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has launched India’s first large-scale trial for two new tuberculosis(TB) vaccines.
  2. The two vaccines being tested in the trial are (a)Immuvac which is also known as mycobacterium indicus pranii or MIP and (b)VPM1002.
  3. Currently,Bacille Calmette-Guerin(BCG) vaccine is used in the routine Expanded Programme of Immunisation(EPI) in countries across the world.
  4. However,the vaccine is over 100 years old and has been partially effective in protecting infants and young children particularly from the most severe forms of TB.It also provides poor protection against pulmonary disease in adolescents and adults.
  5. Further,depending on the results,the recommendations would be sent to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  6. TB is an infectious airborne bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.As per the 2018 annual report of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,the incidence of TB in India was nearly 2.8 million annually and the total number of deaths by TB was over 5 lakhs.
  7. India contributes 27% of the global TB burden which is the highest share globally.In this background,the central government had committed itself to eliminating TB by 2025.