In a promising development that seems to put the world a step closer to a better vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), researchers today published final results from a phase 2b trial, which showed nearly 50% protection against progression to active TB.

The findings confirm earlier results first reported in 2018 for the adjuvanted subunit vaccine (M72/AS01E) developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Researchers published their findings today in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented them at the 50th Union World Congress on Lung Health in Hyderabad, India.

Currently, the only TB vaccine, bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG), has been in use since 1921. Though it is fairly effective for infants and young children, its protection varies widely in adults. Demand for a better vaccine has been rising, especially in the face of rising levels of multidrug-resistant TB.

Studies suggest that a vaccine targeted to adolescents and adults would be the strongest tool to cut levels of TB.

In September 2018, an international group of researchers published their initial findings, including that the vaccine was 54% effective in preventing latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis from progressing to the active form of the disease in young and middle-aged adults.

Credit: istock, stockdevil

Solid protection, no safety signals

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