British firm one step closer to TB vaccine
A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and was presented by company representatives at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, Telangana, on Tuesday.Updated: Oct 30, 2019 03:34 IST
Researchers are working on a vaccine, which, they say, could prevent tuberculosis (TB), the single most deadly infectious disease that kills 1.5 million people globally each year.
The British pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is working on the new vaccine (M72/AS01E) that has been tested in Sub-Saharan African regions with 50% efficacy in preventing latent TB from becoming active after three years of vaccination. The current TB vaccine, BCG, is not very effective.
A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and was presented by company representatives at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, Telangana, on Tuesday.
“The candidate vaccine has an acceptable safety and reactogenicity profile… The final results are consistent with the primary analysis done after two years of follow-up and published in New England Journal of Medicine in September 2018,” said GSK in a statement.
Reactogenicity refers to the property of a vaccine of being able to produce common, adverse reactions — fever, sore arm at injection site, among others.
After phase 2 trials that are usually conducted at limited sites for dosage and efficacy of a drug, the next level is phase 3 trials that are carried out to compare an experimental drug with standard available treatment for the same disease.
“These final results show that M72/AS01E could be an important tool in the fight against pulmonary tuberculosis. While additional trials need to be conducted to confirm these findings in other populations, we have never before seen a vaccine that provides protection in adults who are already infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis,” said Dr Mark Feinberg, president, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a global non-profit. The study was conducted in partnership with IAVI.
Tuesday’s announcement spells good news, especially for developing countries such as India, that faces a quarter of the global TB burden.