The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine has been used since 1921 to prevent tuberculosis (TB) and 2021 marks 100 years of BCG.
Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology, GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Health, Government Policies and Initiatives)
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is BCG Vaccine?
- What is Tuberculosis?
- Achievements highlighted in the Annual TB Report
- BCG Vaccine for TB
- Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY)
What is BCG Vaccine?
- Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis (TB).
- In countries where tuberculosis or leprosy is common, one dose is recommended in healthy babies as close to the time of birth as possible.
- In areas where tuberculosis is not common, only children at high risk are typically immunized, while suspected cases of tuberculosis are individually tested for and treated.
- Adults who do not have tuberculosis and have not been previously immunized but are frequently exposed may be immunized as well.
- BCG also has some effectiveness against Buruli ulcer infection and other nontuberculous mycobacteria infections.
- Additionally it is sometimes used as part of the treatment of bladder cancer.
- India and Pakistan introduced BCG mass immunization in 1948, the first countries outside Europe to do so.
What is Tuberculosis?
- Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria belonging to the Mycobacteriaceae family consisting of about 200 members.
- Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis.
- The bacteria that cause TB are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- In 15–20% of active cases, the infection spreads outside the lungs, causing other kinds of TB.
- TB is a very ancient disease and has been documented to have existed in Egypt as early as 3000 BC.
- In humans, TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB).
- Other historically dreaded diseases like smallpox, leprosy, plague and cholera have been either eradicated or controlled to a large extent due to advances in science and technology.
- However, TB continues to be a major public health problem in the world.
- According to the WHO’s Global TB Report, 10 million people developed TB in 2019 with 1.4 million deaths. India accounts for 27% of these cases.
Achievements highlighted in the Annual TB Report
- 2019 has amounted to a 14% increase in TB notification as compared to the year 2018.
- A near-complete on-line notification of TB patients through the NIKSHAY system has been achieved.
- Reduction in the number of missing cases to 2.9 lakh cases as against more than 10 lakhs in 2017 has been achieved.
- Expansion of treatment services has resulted in a 12% improvement in the treatment success rate of notified patients.
- NIKSHAY also expanded the provision of four Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) schemes of the programme –
- Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY) to TB patients
- The incentive to Treatment Supporters
- Incentive to Private Providers and
- Transport incentive to TB patients in the notified tribal areas
- Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) has been renamed to National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP).
- India is committed to achieving the SDG goal of eliminating TB in the country by 2025, five years ahead of the Global Target at 2030.
- The salient feature of this year is that for the first time Central TB Division (CTD) introduced a quarterly ranking on TB elimination efforts by all the states and UTs.
BCG Vaccine for TB
- BCG was developed by two Frenchmen, Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin, by modifying a strain of Mycobacterium bovis (that causes TB in cattle) till it lost its capacity to cause disease while retaining its property to stimulate the immune system.
- It was first used in humans in 1921.
- Currently, BCG is the only licensed vaccine available for the prevention of TB.
- It is the world’s most widely used vaccine with about 120 million doses every year and has an excellent safety record.
- In India, BCG was first introduced in a limited scale in 1948 and became a part of the National TB Control Programme in 1962.
- India is committed to eliminate TB as a public health problem by 2025.
Effectiveness of BCG
- One intriguing fact about BCG is that it works well in some geographic locations and not so well in others.
- Generally, the farther a country is from the equator, the higher is the efficacy.
- In children, BCG provides strong protection against severe forms of TB.
- This protective effect appears to wane with age and is far more variable in adolescents and adults, ranging from 0–80%.
- In addition to its primary use as a vaccine against TB, BCG also protects against respiratory and bacterial infections of the newborns and other mycobacterial diseases like leprosy and Buruli’s ulcer.
- It is also used as an immunotherapy agent in cancer of the urinary bladder and malignant melanoma.
Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY)
- Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY) is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for nutritional support to Tuberculosis (TB) patients rolled out by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- The scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under National Health Mission (NHM).
- This scheme is implemented across all States and UTs in India.
- All TB patients, including all existing TB patients under treatment are eligible to receive incentives.
Note: The scheme is not related to Poshan Mission which is an initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development.
-Source: Indian Express