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One vaccine for a century

Posted on July 27, 2023 by Taber Times

In the aftermath of World War One, humankind was going through a rough time of deadly diseases such as Tuberculosis and various pandemics. Good enough, the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine was introduced in 1921, saving many.

However, its effectiveness was limited, resulting in many to continue dying from TB, and this is due to a lack of adequate support in funding and research development on TB, especially because this disease affects primarily marginalized communities. Unsurprisingly, in 2023, we are still being administered a modified version of the Bacille Calmette-Guérin, one century later.

Would it not be an issue of inequality and inequity in the health system? The solidarity of Global scientific cooperation drove the rapid development of safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines. In one year, 19 vaccines were approved. Although TB claims millions of lives despite being the deadliest disease, the lack of support and solidarity is at the root of this problem.

However, there might be a way to undo the historical inequities in Global Health. As a first step, countries globally are meeting at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB this September to discuss ways to end TB and prepare for future threats. Having Prime Minister Trudeau participate in the meeting and commit 0.15% of Canada’s overall research and development expenditure yearly will give justice to millions affected by this disease.

Together, we can #EndTB!

Peace Mukazi, Kanata, ON

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