New research may create better TB vaccine

Research into the isolation of a protein secreted by the tuberculosis bacteria may lead to the development of new methods for diagnosis and treatment for TB.

Scientists working at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College believe they may be close to a more effective vaccine than the traditional Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG vaccination, according to

"Despite most of the world's population having had a BCG vaccination, there are still nine million new cases of TB every year," professor Ajit Lalvani, the senior author of the study from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said, according to "So we urgently need to develop a more effective vaccine for TB.

Lalvani said that, given the intensity of the immune response triggered by the newly identified TB protein molecule, EspC, a new and more potent vaccine, may be possible. She added that EspC could help to provide a better diagnosis of the deadly infection.

"We've shown that EspC, which is secreted by the bacterium, provokes a very strong immune response, and is also highly specific to MTB (bacterium tuberculosis),” Lavani said, according to “This makes it an extremely promising candidate for a new TB vaccine that could stimulate broader and stronger immunity than BCG. Surprisingly, our results also show that this molecule could underpin next-generation diagnostic blood tests that can rapidly detect latent TB infection."