Six months after Kenya launched its package of the latest health technologies to strengthen tuberculosis (TB) prevention, care and treatment, India has announced that she will soon be embarking on clinical trials for a new BCG tuberculosis vaccine.
This comes months after Kenya and India pledged to enhance cooperation in the health sector as part of ongoing efforts by the Kenyan government to further improve quality and access to primary healthcare after a meeting between former Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi and Indian ambassador to Kenya Virander Paul.
While making the announcement on the new BCG vaccine at the ongoing Indian Science Congress, Dr Shekhar Mande, the former director-general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, said technology has helped doctors and researchers understand TB better.
“We are mainly focusing on new medicines and drugs for tuberculosis. We are doing background work and setting targets on research for prevention of tuberculosis,” he said, adding that clinical trials will start soon.
“The National Institute of Tuberculosis Research, Chennai, will start clinical trials of the new BCG vaccine for TB. One of the most promising ways of controlling TB is something called Dots therapy ( directly observed treatment, short-course) in which the patient takes medicine in the presence of a doctor and the therapy is continued for six to eight months and completed in the best possible way,” he said.
According to the world’s biggest vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India, which has applied for emergency use authorisation with the Drug Controller General of India for its recombinant BCG vaccine TUBERVAC-rBCG, the jab, will be able to help adult TB patients. This is the second TB vaccine that the Asian country is currently working on.