Scientists have developed a vaccine, which is partially effective at preventing tuberculosis (TB) from progressing to an active disease.
The new vaccine, called M72/AS01E, has been developed by pharmaceutical firms GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Aeras. The trial experiment included 3,300 adults from Kenya, South Africa and Zambia. All of them had latent tuberculosis -a silent infection that might or might not progress to active tuberculosis. Half of them were given two doses of the vaccine, and the other half had a placebo.
Of those, who got two doses of the vaccine, only 13 developed active tuberculosis during three years of follow-up, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. By contrast, 26 of those who got a placebo progressed to active tuberculosis.
An efficiency of 50% is low as compared with the most established vaccines but provided the prevalence of TB and the shortage of other preventative treatments, such a vaccine could have a big effect on the number of cases.
Dr. Nazir Ismail, chief of tuberculosis research at South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases, called the vaccine’s 50% effectiveness ‘reasonably good.’
Annually, 1.6 million people die and 10 million people get infected from tuberculosis. TB, the world’s most infectious lethal disease, surpassed AIDS as the deadliest infectious disease worldwide, five years ago.
The Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is used to protect infants against some types of TB but does not protect adults against the form that attacks the lungs, which is of the most common sort.
“The vaccine looks promising and likely better than our century-old BCG vaccine,” said Dr. Mario C. Raviglione, a global health expert at the University of Milan who headed the W.H.O.’s global tuberculosis program from 2003 to 2007, in a statement published by The New York Times.
TB patients suffer fevers and night sweats, lose weight and cough up blood. If they are left untreated, they ultimately die.
It is not known whether genetic differences make some people more susceptible to tuberculosis, or whether the bacteria circulating in different countries vary in infectiousness, claimed The New York Times in a news report.
No CommentsLeave a comment Cancel