Review of tuberculosis vaccine studies question efficacy

Courtesy of the CDC
A recent review published in the International Journal Epidemiology suggested that studies that had originally indicated the effectiveness of the MVA85A vaccine candidate against tuberculosis may not have been as accurate as thought.

In the review, they found that studies used varying animal models and overall the eight studies had small samples and experimental methods were not well reported.

"Tuberculosis remains a major health challenge in many parts of the world and - as with every field of research - we all have a responsibility to work to the highest standards of scientific integrity," lead author of the review and LMST Professor Paul Garner said. "We need to make our findings accessible to as wide an audience as quickly as possible. You don't bury results you don't like. It can mislead other scientists, and misinforms the public."

The MVA85A is a boosting candidate for an existing vaccine, the Bacillus Calmette- Guérin (BCG).

One study was cause for concern as the results were not made publicly available after the researchers behind the study received funding to begin experimental human trial. In this study five out of six subjects succumbed to the disease with the booster as opposed to two out of six with the BCG vaccine by itself.