Tuberculosis vaccine hopes dashed

February 4, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

A major trial of a new booster vaccine has ended in failure, marking a major setback in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

It was the first big study in infants since the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine was introduced in 1921.

BCG is only partially effective against the bacterium that causes TB, which is why several international teams are working on new vaccines.

The latest, known as MVA85A, failed to protect babies who had already had BCG.

The trial, in South Africa, involved 2,794 healthy children aged four to six months, half of whom received MVA85A and the rest a placebo.

They were followed up for an average of two years.

The researchers, reporting in the Lancet medical journal, found 32 cases of TB in those who had received the vaccine compared with 39 in the placebo group.

This gave an effectiveness of 17%, which is so low as to be statistically non-significant.

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