The Tuberculosis Vaccine
Question: Should we continue using the tuberculosis vaccine?
Neil Schluger: Well, the vaccine for tuberculosis called BCG vaccine is still the most widely used vaccine in the world. Actually, about 100 million people get it every year. We don’t give it in the United States for two reasons, mostly because we don’t have enough TB to make it worthwhile to vaccinate the entire population. It’s expensive and complicated to do that but around the world it’s a very widely used vaccine. It clearly-- No matter how much it works, and people argue about how well it works, it clearly doesn’t work well enough because as I said it’s the most widely used vaccine in the world, and TB is still the eighth leading cause of death and TB cases around the world have not declined at all in a very long time so we need a new vaccine for sure. Whether or not we should continue to use the one we use is an interesting question. It does protect children from severe forms of tuberculosis. That’s its major efficacy and it’s probably worth doing in countries where TB is incredibly common, but certainly we’re not going to eliminate TB with this vaccine. The bad news though is, from everything that I can see, it’ll be at least 20 years--and that might be an optimistic estimate--at least 20 years before there’s a better vaccine that’s available
Question: Will TB ever go the way of smallpox?
Neil Schluger: I would say at the rate we’re going eradication of TB globally is not within sight. We just don’t have the tools. It would probably take a really effective vaccine to do that so I don’t think anyone can really see eradication. Frankly, at the moment on a global level we’d be happy just to see it decline and in many regions of the world TB cases are declining, and the place where it’s going up the fastest is Sub-Saharan Africa where AIDS is really
driving the whole epidemic, but in many other regions TB cases are declining but I don’t think we can realistically talk about eradication for a long time.
Recorded on: 04/25/2008
It’s the most widely used vaccine in the world, yet tuberculosis is still the 8th leading cause of death, says Schluger.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.