Health: Vaccinations

House of Lords written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Masham of Ilton Baroness Masham of Ilton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are supporting the research and development of more effective diagnostics of, and vaccines against, tuberculosis.

Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The Government have provided funding for novel diagnostic and vaccine research for tuberculosis (TB) to academia and the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The HPA has developed novel diagnostic assays to detect the TB bacterium and to identify drug resistant strains, particularly multi- and extensive drug resistant strains.

Through its specialist facilities for preclinical vaccine evaluation studies, the HPA is also conducting research on more effective vaccines against TB.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has separately funded the HPA to evaluate the predictive value of interferon gamma (IGRA) tests for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection, and to review the evidence for the duration of protection offered by current TB vaccine (BCG).

Internationally, the Government are funding the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) for £5 million between 2009-14 to support their work on diagnostics for a range of diseases, including TB. The Government are also funding Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation for £8 million between 2009-14 to support development of new TB vaccines.

In addition, the Government have provided £12 million for 2008-13 to the Tropical Disease Research (TDR) special research programme based at the World Health Organization. TDR is involved in a wide range of research including research on TB diagnostics.

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