SATVI raises TB in Parliament

14 February 2011

In January, two major tuberculosis-vaccine partners - the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) and the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation (Aeras) - addressed the Portfolio Committee on Health at the South African Parliament in Cape Town, to keep them abreast of South Africa's (and SATVI's) leading role in finding a new, more effective vaccine against TB. Among the speakers was Dr Hassan Mahomed, SATVI co-director, who explained the dire need for a new vaccine to curb the spread of the disease, especially in the face of TB's growing drug-resistance. In turn, Sebastian Gelderbloem (the head of Aeras Africa) outlined the progress made in TB vaccine development globally. And SATVI co-director Professor Willem Hanekom of UCT's Institute for Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine pointed out that most funding for TB vaccine research (almost all of SATVI's 2010 budget of R50 million, for example) originates from overseas rather than from South African coffers, despite South Africa having the second-highest TB rate in the world. Overall the meeting went well, reports Hanekom, and SATVI is planning to follow up with key funders in government.

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