Candidate booster for TB vaccine developed

Researchers from the Infectious Diseases Research Institute in Seattle recently announced that they have developed a candidate booster for the tuberculosis vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guerin.

The BCG  vaccine is not used in the United States, but it is given to 120 million infants every year in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. BCG provides partial protection from a virulent form of TB but it loses its effectiveness between the ages of 10 and 15, according to the Seattle Times.

Scientists have been seeking a booster for the drug for decades with little success. So far, the IDRI candidate has only been tested in animals, but it could prove valuable in the fight against TB if it is successful in humans.

"The thing that got me excited is that this is the first example I know of where a boost strategy really made a substantial difference in outcome," David Sherman, a tuberculosis expert from Seattle BioMed said, the Seattle Times reports. Sherman was not involved in the project.

IDRI, a nonprofit biosciences lab, has been working on the project for 15 years. It published its animal trial results in the journal Science Translational Medicine the same day the World Health Organization announced a $47 billion, five-year plan to bolster the fight against TB.