Hyderabad: People who test positive with immunologic tuberculosis (TB) skin or blood tests rarely develop the disease says a new study.
The study suggests the infecting organism – Mycobacterium tuberculosis is likely dead or wiped out naturally by human’s immune system.
But for the first time ever, an experimental vaccine with a high probability of treating TB is being introduced to TB patients in Hyderabad.
The vaccine ‘M72 ASO1E’ has proved to be 50 per cent effective in preventing the latent tuberculosis from progressing into an active disease among adults in Africa.
The new vaccine prevents pulmonary TB disease according to the researchers who have presented their study results at the global summit on lung health recently.
The study was carried out by Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Also, the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on Tuesday had included 3,575 TB participants aged between 18 years and 50 years from South Africa, Kenya and Zambia.
According to the study, this new vaccine not only improvised the TB patients immune response but also provided protection against progression to pulmonary tuberculosis diseases for at least three years.
“Currently, there are about 15 different TB vaccine candidates in the world that are under different stages of development. We are talking about this particular one because this is first time that a vaccine has displayed so much of efficacy and promise that it can actually protect already infected adults from active TB. This has not been shown in any published literature so far,” said Dr Ann Ginsberg, Senior Technical Advisor, IAVI.
Speaking on the results, Clinical Research and Development, GSK, Director Olivier Van Der Meeren said the safety profile of the vaccine is acceptable where as its efficacy so far had been very good, he added, “the study results have been encouraging.”
“We are more cautious and also excited as we are a step closer to a vaccine for TB,” said Dr Paula Fujiwara, Scientific Director, The Union.
Despite India being a country with a large population of TB patients, the research for the vaccine study was carried out in regions with higher TB incidence.
“The TB incidence rate in South Africa is 10 times higher. To conduct the study in India, we would have needed more number of patients and it would have taken longer to complete the study,” Dr Meeren said.