Tuberculosis is one of the most dangerous diseases in the world and more than 1.6 million people die every year from it. However, researchers hope that a new experimental vaccine will bring the solution that was needed.
The team of scientists used the vaccine on a group of people and a placebo shot on another group of people. For those who received the experimental vaccine, the researchers discovered that “”the incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis was significantly lower.”
The leader of the team is Dr. Olivier Van Der Meeren, head of clinical research at drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. This company, as well as the pharmaceutical company Aeras funded the study, and the finding can be found in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This vaccine is needed because TB is becoming resistant to antibiotics. According to researchers, “less than a quarter of the estimated 600,000 patients with multidrug-resistant … tuberculosis received diagnosis and were treated.”
This study represents the second phase of the M72/AS01 vaccines. The researchers used the vaccine on 3,600 adults from Zambia, South Africa and Kenya. They has already received the BCG vaccine. .The results were promising, and researchers discovered that there was a 54 percent reduction. Only 10 people who received the vaccine developed TB, while 22 who got the placebo shot developed the disease.
“The efficacy of the vaccine was 54 percent in preventing full-blown TB, while that may seem low, many vaccines [the influenza vaccine, for example] have a comparable success rate” noted Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
“TB is still a worldwide scourge and is easily transmitted via droplets that can be spread easily through talking, laughing and simply being in the same room as an active TB patient,” concluded Dr. Len Horovitz.