History of BCG Vaccine

Maedica (Bucur). 2013 Mar;8(1):53-8.


Tuberculosis (TB) is still responsible for 2 million deaths every year despite being a treatable airborne infectious disease. "Consumption" and "Phthisis" were terms historically used to describe TB, which was responsible for one in four deaths in the 19th century. Due to its infectious nature, chronic progression and long treatment, TB is a great burden for society. Moreover the emergence of multi-drug resistant TB and the current TB-HIV epidemic has raised even greater concern. Treating and preventing TB has become a permanent challange since the ancient times. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the only vaccine available today and has been used for more than 90 years with astonishing safety records. However, its efficacy remains controversial. No universal BCG vaccination policy exists, with some countries merely recommending its use and others that have implemented immunization programs. In this article we review several important milestones of BCG vaccine development from the discovery till today.

Keywords: BCG; Tuberculosis; history; review; vaccine.