South African TB vaccine trials near completion

The South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative is approaching the closing phases of its search for a new TB vaccine for use in infants.

The results, which are expected to be released in February, will show whether the vaccine candidate, known as MVA85A, is successful in preventing TB, according to HealthCanal.com.

Dr. Hassan Mahomed, a senior clinical researcher at SATVI and the trial's principal investigator, said that the vaccine was administered to approximately 2,800 babies from July 2009 to May 2011. Mahomed said that the vaccine has gone through enough testing to prove that it is safe.

"With this trial, we will find out for the first time if the vaccine protects against TB," Mahomed said, HealthCanal.com reports.

Mahomed added that, if the results are positive, the vaccine will still need to undergo more testing before it can be used by the public. He predicted the results of the trial will be a major milestone in the search for a new TB vaccine.

SATVI, located at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine in Cape Town, is the largest TB vaccine research center in Africa. Its stated objective is to find and develop new, effective and affordable TB vaccines for use worldwide.