Researchers from GlaxoSmithKline
) said that they are closing in on a new game-changing vaccine
, the world's deadliest infectious disease that claimed some 1.8 million lives last year.
The existing Bacille-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine
licensed for humans in 1921 is only proven to be effective for children under five for limited forms of tuberculosis
. It does not protect against pulmonary TB
, the most common form of the disease
amongst adults and teens.
In a trial in three African nations, GlaxoSmithKline
said its vaccine
had 50 percent effectiveness three years after it was given to participants who already have TB
bacteria but have not fallen ill from the disease.
' chief medical officer Thomas Breuer commented to Thailand Medical
News in a phone interview "These results demonstrate that for the first time in almost a century, the global community potentially has a new tool to help provide protection against Tuberculosis
Campaigners said the trial in Kenya, South Africa and Zambia, involving more than 3,000 adults, was a crucial step amid a push for more funding for TB research. South African Tuberculosis Vaccine
Initiative director Mark Hatherill said a vaccine would be "the only way in the short-term to interrupt TB
transmission and get control of the epidemic."
Dr Ann Ginsberg, of the International AIDS Vaccine
Initiative which has been taking part in the research, said 15 possible vaccines
are at various stages of development around the world but this was the most "exciting". If successful, the vaccine
could "avert tens of millions of new cases of TB
and save millions of lives globally."
Dr Paula Fujiwara, scientific director of the Paris-based International Union Against Tuberculosis
and Lung Disease commented, "We are one more cautious, but exciting, step closer to a vaccine
. The results have to be further tested in longer and larger trials across broader ranges of populations and countries, the scientists”
said it would take several years to complete the trials and get a licence for a vaccine
One in four people worldwide carry latent TB
, meaning they are infected with the bacteria but are not sick and cannot transmit the disease. Between five to 15 percent develop active TB
. Those with compromised immune systems such as people with HIV are more vulnerable to falling sick.
Of late, there has been a surge in the number of Tuberculosis
cases coupled with more cases of drug resistant and extremely drug resistant (XDR) strains emerging all around the world.
Dereck R. Tait et al. Final Analysis of a Trial of M72/AS01E Vaccine to Prevent Tuberculosis, New England Journal of Medicine
(2019). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1909953