Advertisement

A new strain of Tuberculosis vaccine was more effective than what's currently being used, according to a study in nonhuman primates from the Tulane National Primate Research Center. The study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

Tuberculosis (TB), one of the world's deadliest diseases, is a contagious infection of the lungs. BCG is a commonly used strain of the vaccine. "Nonhuman primates are closer to human beings immunologically, genetically and physiologically. In fact when infected via the aerosol route, the pathological manifestations of TB in monkeys are identical to humans," Deepak Kaushal, professor at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, told ALN exclusively.

• CONFERENCE AGENDA ANNOUNCED:

The highly-anticipated educational tracks for the 2015 R&D 100 Awards & Technology Conference feature 28 sessions, plus keynote speakers Dean Kamen and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason. Learn more

In the study, the reseachers found that monkeys given an aerosol that contained the modified strain, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) resisted infection better than those that received BCG. "Mtb is the bug that causes TB by surviving in the lungs of human beings and effectively resisting killing by various mechanisms. We generated a mutant which was unable to survive in the lungs due to the mutation. This was accompanied by the presence/expression of signatures known to be associated with protection. So we thought that this mutant could protect against TB," Kaushal added.

Further preclinical studies are needed to validate these results before the vaccine can move to clinical studies. "We need more funding support but we would expand the vaccine strain to incorporate more mutations so as to make it safer and comply with WHO regulations of having at least two independent mutations as a live vaccine against TB. This double mutant would then need to be tested to see if we can retain the immunogenicity observed in the current study," Kaushal concluded.

Advertisement
Advertisement