Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health expert Prof. Tjandra Yoga Aditama said that vaccine candidates and the development of the latest therapeutic methods are expected to be able to control tuberculosis (TB) in Indonesia.

"The world is currently continuing to try to create a new TB vaccine because the existing BCG vaccine can only prevent severe TB in children," he said in a statement to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day 2024 through a short message here on Sunday.

He said vaccines have an important role to play in dealing with infectious diseases, as happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aditama, who is a Professor of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia, said there are at least three types of mechanisms for making tuberculosis vaccines, including whole cell vaccines, vaccines with adjuvant protein, and recombinant subunit vector vaccines.

Aditama said that the new vaccine candidate is expected to replace the current BCG vaccine (BCG replacement), as a BCG booster (BCG boosters), and as a treatment vaccine for TB (therapeutic vaccine for TB), which functions as control through the immune system (immune-mediated control).

With this latest development, it is hoped that vaccination can shorten the duration of treatment, simplify the regimen, or improve treatment results, added Aditama.

"Hopefully, tuberculosis can be controlled around the world and in our country with the discovery of a new vaccine. Apart from vaccination, all cases of tuberculosis in our country must be found and treated," he said.

Aditama added that currently there is also a tuberculosis prevention therapy (TPT) method for those who have been infected with TB germs but are not yet sick, or what is known as latent TB.

"But the coverage of tuberculosis prevention therapy is only under 10 percent," he said.

March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day. This date was chosen because on March 24, 1882, a German scientist named Robert Koch presented the results of his research on the tuberculosis germ, which was named Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Today, 142 years after the germ was discovered, tuberculosis is still a world health problem. Based on the WHO Global TB Report 2023, TB causes the second highest number of deaths in the world after COVID-19 in 2022.

More than 10 million people globally are infected with TB every year. There are 30 countries with a high burden of tuberculosis, accounting for 87 percent of all world tuberculosis cases.

And two-thirds of global cases occur in eight countries, including India (27 percent), Indonesia (10 percent), China (7.1 percent), the Philippines (7.0 percent), Pakistan (5.7 percent), Nigeria (4.5 percent), Bangladesh (3.6 percent), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3.0 percent).

The Ministry of Health estimates that the number of tuberculosis cases in Indonesia has reached 1,060,000, and there are 134,000 deaths due to tuberculosis per year, or 17 people die from tuberculosis every hour.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Katriana
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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