Thank you to AERAS for your work and your leadership in the search for an effective TB vaccine.
As everyone here knows, the world has committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2030.
This year’s Union conference theme is Accelerating Toward Elimination. We chose this theme because we wanted to focus our community on solutions that will lead to much faster progress we’re making today.
For TB, we need to move from a 1.5 percent annual reduction in TB incidence to a 10 percent annual reduction.
To make that leap, we need new tools and new technologies…and a new TB vaccine would be the single most powerful tool for accelerating toward TB elimination.
When we think about the eradication of a major disease – smallpox, and soon hopefully polio – it was a vaccine that made it possible.
The BCG vaccine is given to millions of children around the world every year. Just imagine if that vaccine were completely effective at preventing those children from ever getting TB in their lifetimes.
It would completely change the game, and would very quickly put us on the path to ending TB.
And so we MUST have a new TB vaccine. It is so vital that donors and investors increase their support for vaccine research. It is one of the most important areas of research in global public health.
And so I want to acknowledge AERAS for your efforts and for leading the way in TB vaccine research.
We cannot do it without you. And The Union is your partner. I hope all of us here can find ways of working together to make an effective TB vaccine a reality as soon as possible.