European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership turns eye to TB vaccines

Charles Mgone, originally an instructor on poverty-related diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS, has turned his attention to developing clinical trials for vaccines.

Mgone became the executive director of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership in February 2007. The EDCTP was created in 2003 to facilitate research and development of new and improved drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics to combat poverty-related diseases, reports.

One of the main diseases Mgone and the organization have worked on is tuberculosis, which still uses the same vaccine that was used to combat the disease in 1921. The BCG vaccination has only been minimally improved in the many decades since its inception.

"And we know (BCG) is not the ideal vaccine, although it protects children against severe forms," Mgone said, according to "But it doesn't stop the contagious form acquired by adults. So we are working with Emergent BioSolutions and Aeras, a non-profit product developer, as well as institutions in the south and the north, to conduct trials in this."

Mgone has also worked with other major philanthropic organizations and industry heads to target HIV/AIDS.

"In the case of HIV, we're working with IAVI (International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation," Mgone said, according to "For instance, with the Gates Foundation we put funds together to support capacity to conduct clinical trials. The whole philosophy of EDCTP is really to work in partnerships."

Mgone said that coordinating the multiple partners involved in such vaccination projects is difficult. The toughest aspect may be getting the international funders, public-private partnerships and industry members to harmonize their own programs and philosophies.

"Bringing together European member states and sub-Saharan African counterparts to work for a common cause in a genuine mutual partnership is very gratifying," Mgone said, according to