TB vaccine ready for testing on infants with HIV positive mothers

South African researchers are readying clinical trials to test a new tuberculosis vaccine for newborns of HIV-positive mothers.

The University of Cape Town's South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative and Stellenbosch's Desmond Tutu TB Center are recruiting infants to test the vaccine, currently known as MVA85A, according to

The vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University, has already been successfully tested for safety and efficacy in adults, children and HIV-positive adults. The test will mark the first time a TB vaccine has been tested specifically for infants born to HIV-positive mothers. The current TB vaccine, BCG, can lead to complications in HIV-infected babies.

"If this MVA85A vaccine study is successful, it will benefit in particular those babies at risk of HIV infection, who are also at high risk of getting TB," UCT's Associate Professor Mark Hatherill, the study's leader, said, reports.

The researchers hope to enroll a total of 340 newborn infants of HIV-positive mothers at antenatal clinics in the South African cities of Worcester and Cape Town. Half of the babies are to receive MVA85A, while the other half will receive a placebo. All of the babies will be monitored over the course of one year.

"Participation of the community in our studies is essential, and we are grateful for the ongoing support of the Boland community for TB vaccine studies over the last 12 years," Hatherill said, reports.