A New Vaccine for TB
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I found a number astounding, Norbert. How many of the world’s people carry the Tuberculosis bacterium? I don’t know… under ten percent? A quarter! Isn’t that nuts? But people with latent tuberculosis or TB don’t have symptoms or the disease and are not contagious. However, if they’re not treated, the bacterium could activate.

Here’s where a new vaccine could help. It can prevent up to half of people with latent TB from developing active disease. So, we’re not talking about the BCG vaccine which prevents TB in children. This new vaccine is called M-seven-two/AS-zero-one-E and is a fusion of two proteins from M. tuberculosis plus an adjuvant which is a substance added to vaccines to help stimulate an immune response.

The study enrolled just over thirty-five hundred adults with inactive M. tuberculosis in Kenya, South Africa and Zambia. The goal was to determine if the vaccine could prevent latent infections from activating. The patients were randomly assigned to receive the two doses of the new vaccine or a placebo and were followed for three years after the second dose.

Twice as many of those who received the placebo developed active TB than those who received the vaccine. Even though the vaccine stimulated the immune system with one dose, the second dose boosted its response.

It’s the first vaccine to show any protection for people already infected with the bacterium. That’s tremendous because nearly one and a half million people die from TB each year.

For more information…

Final Analysis of a Trial of M72/AS01E Vaccine to Prevent Tuberculosis
Results of an earlier analysis of a trial of the M72/AS01E candidate vaccine against Mycobacterium tuberculosis showed that in infected adults, the vaccine provided 54.0% protection against active pulmonary tuberculosis disease, without evident safety concerns. We now report the results of the 3-year final analysis of efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity...

CFC Tuberculosis Fact Sheet
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person to person through the air...

World Health Organization Tuberculosis Fact Sheet
A total of 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018 (including 251 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent (above HIV/AIDS)...