News

South Africa Maps Strategy for TB Fight

David Mametja of South African Department of Health speaks in Johannesburg at the launch of Global TB Vaccine Road map, March 20, 2012.
David Mametja of South African Department of Health speaks in Johannesburg at the launch of Global TB Vaccine Road map, March 20, 2012.
Delia Robertson

A global strategy to develop safe and effective tuberculosis vaccines over the coming decade was unveiled in South Africa this week.

The new plan establishes international worldwide research targets for the next 10 years, with the goal of having safe and effective vaccines ready for production by 2022.

Each year there are about nine million new cases of TB and 1.4 million deaths. The disease often occurs in people who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, due to their compromised immune systems. And in recent years strains of TB have emerged that are increasingly multi-drug resistant.

David Memetja, who is responsible for TB control and management at the South African Department of Health, told journalists the solution lies in finding a vaccine.

“The solution is really in preventing TB, and in that regard the announced TB vaccine blueprint we believe is part of the important solution in terms of minimizing the risk of TB in the country,” he said.

Memetja says South Africa is at the epicenter of the global TB pandemic.

“So in fact if you take our incidence rate, which currently stands at almost 1,000 [infections] per 100,000 people, so adjusting for our population size we actually rank first in the world among the 22 countries that account for 80 percent of the world’s TB burden,” said Memetja.

Gavin Churcyard, chief executive of the Aurum Institute, an independent, public-benefit organization that focuses on TB and HIV, says the work going on in South Africa is an important part of the effort to control TB.

“South Africa researchers are playing a leading role internationally in development and evaluation of new TB drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines," said Churcyard. "Recently a national plan for an HIV vaccine was launched, and there are plans to launch a national plan for TB based on the [TB vaccine] blueprint.”

Hassan Mahomed, team leader at the South Africa TB Vaccine Initative at the University of Cape Town, says most of the vaccine trials under way are being done in this country.

“There are five research institutions around South Africa that are actively involved in clinical trials of new TB vaccines," he said. "Of the 12 TB vaccines that are being actively tested at the moment, six of them are being tested in South Africa.”

Mahomed says it also is important that local researchers are working together with nine institutions across the African continent in a collaborative effort to find new vaccines.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs