A New Tuberculosis Vaccine -Finally


The pathogen responsible for the most human deaths is mycobacterium tuberculosis or MTB. It causes tuberculosis or TB. Even though for a century we've had the BCG vaccine, it doesn't prevent the most common form of TB, pulmonary TB. But now we have the best hope for one that works: the M-seventy-two vaccine.

It's made up of a fusion of two MTB proteins, combined with other components called adjuvants that stimulate the immune system. In human clinical trials, the M-seventy-two vaccine has shown that it reduces the risk of adolescents and adults developing active TB even in those with HIV.

This is key since TB has become harder to treat over time as it quickly developed resistance to antibiotics and in recent years, some TB have become resistant to all antibiotics. In low to middle-income countries where eighty percent of TB cases occur, these problems are made worse because people often can't access medical care. That spurred the search for a better vaccine to replace BCG.

The Welcome and the Gates Foundation are together committing five hundred fifty million dollars to fund a phase three clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. If successful, M-seventy-two could be the first TB vaccine to protect adolescents and adults from pulmonary TB which would be a game changer for African and Southeast Asian communities with high levels of the disease.

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