'Given the variable protective efficacy provided by Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), there is an urgent need to develop new vaccines against tuberculosis. '
The BCG vaccine was the first vaccine developed for Tuberculosis. Originally developed in 1921 it is still the only vaccine available.
With the recent increase in the prevalence of Tuberculosis there are now a number of possible new vaccines in development. Since commercial firms have shown little interest in developing such drugs support has largely come from private philanthropists. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have a strong commitment to Tuberculosis and recently gave a $200 million grant to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation, a non-profit Product Development Partnership dedicated to the development of effective TB vaccines.
There have also been some recent developments in improving the efficacy of the BCG vaccine. A paper in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology earlier this year described the use of interferon to boost the immune response produced by the BCG vaccine and led to some inevitable headlines 'New Discovery Gives Tuberculosis Vaccine A Shot In The Arm'