Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable and curable but eliminating it has proven challenging. Safe and effective TB vaccines that can rapidly reduce disease burden are essential for achieving TB elimination. We assessed future costs, cost-savings, and cost-effectiveness of introducing novel TB vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for a range of product characteristics and delivery strategies.
Methods and findings: We developed a system of epidemiological and economic models, calibrated to demographic, epidemiological, and health service data in 105 LMICs. For each country, we assessed the likely future course of TB-related outcomes under several vaccine introduction scenarios, compared to a "no-new-vaccine" counterfactual. Vaccine scenarios considered 2 vaccine product profiles (1 targeted at infants, 1 at adolescents/adults), both assumed to prevent progression to active TB. Key economic inputs were derived from the Global Health Cost Consortium, World Health Organization (WHO) patient cost surveys, and the published literature. We estimated the incremental impact of vaccine introduction for a range of health and economic outcomes. In the base-case, we assumed a vaccine price of $4.60 and used a 1× per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) cost-effectiveness threshold (both varied in sensitivity analyses). Vaccine introduction was estimated to require substantial near-term resources, offset by future cost-savings from averted TB burden. From a health system perspective, adolescent/adult vaccination was cost-effective in 64 of 105 LMICs. From a societal perspective (including productivity gains and averted patient costs), adolescent/adult vaccination was projected to be cost-effective in 73 of 105 LMICs and cost-saving in 58 of 105 LMICs, including 96% of countries with higher TB burden. When considering the monetized value of health gains, we estimated that introduction of an adolescent/adult vaccine could produce $283 to 474 billion in economic benefits by 2050. Limited data availability required assumptions and extrapolations that may omit important country-level heterogeneity in epidemiology and costs.
Conclusions: TB vaccination would be highly impactful and cost-effective in most LMICs. Further efforts are needed for future development, adoption, and implementation of novel TB vaccines.
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