Tuberculosis prevention: current strategies and future directions

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2023 Oct 31:S1198-743X(23)00533-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2023.10.023. Online ahead of print.


Background: An estimated one fourth of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and 5-10% of those infected develop tuberculosis in their lifetime. Preventing tuberculosis is one of the most underutilized but essential components of curtailing the tuberculosis epidemic. Moreover, current evidence illustrates that tuberculosis manifestations occur along a dynamic spectrum from infection to disease rather than a binary state as historically conceptualized. Elucidating determinants of transition between these states is crucial to decreasing the tuberculosis burden and reaching the END-TB Strategy goals as defined by the WHO. Vaccination, detection of infection, and provision of preventive treatment are key elements of tuberculosis prevention.

Objectives: This review provides a comprehensive summary of recent evidence and state-of-the-art updates on advancements to prevent tuberculosis in various settings and high-risk populations.

Sources: We identified relevant studies in the literature and synthesized the findings to provide an overview of the current state of tuberculosis prevention strategies and latest research developments.

Content: We present the current knowledge and recommendations regarding tuberculosis prevention, with a focus on M. bovis Bacille-Calmette-Guérin vaccination and novel vaccine candidates, tests for latent infection with M. tuberculosis, regimens available for tuberculosis preventive treatment and recommendations in low- and high-burden settings.

Implications: Effective tuberculosis prevention worldwide requires a multipronged approach that addresses social determinants, and improves access to tuberculosis detection and to new short tuberculosis preventive treatment regimens. Robust collaboration and innovative research are needed to reduce the global burden of tuberculosis and develop new detection tools, vaccines, and preventive treatments that serve all populations and ages.

Keywords: BCG; IGRA; LTBI; Novel vaccine candidates; Preventive treatment; TB spectrum; TPT; TST; Tuberculosis control.

Publication types

  • Review