Novel aerosol vaccine for TB shows promise
According to a recent study, the vaccine provoked a strong immune response from rhesus monkeys. The immune response was enough to protect the monkeys from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) pulmonary infections.
The current vaccine for TB is the Bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, which has been used to protect humans since 1921. This is the only licensed vaccine currently available for human use. Unfortunately, its effectiveness is limited, as the protection fades over time and it only protects from pulmonary TB (the most contagious kind of TB).
Researchers from Tulane University have created the aerosol vaccine using a modified Mtb bacteria strain. This strain was genetically engineered without a gene that is believed to be needed to generate lung infections in the monkeys.
The scientists vaccinated seven monkeys with the new vaccine. Seven additional monkeys used an aerosol BCG vaccine and a third group of seven monkeys were the control group. After eight weeks, the monkeys received lethal TB doses. The results showed that the investigational aerosol vaccine provided significantly better protection against pulmonary TB than the aerosol BCG vaccine.