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Tuberculosis Vaccine Fails Trial, Gives No Protection To Infants

Tuberculosis Vaccine

A new tuberculosis vaccine, the first of its kind in 90 years, has failed to produce the benefits hoped for, according to a new study. While it was not deemed harmful, findings indicate that the vaccine especially falls short at protecting infants.

Results of the trial revealed that the vaccine does not provide any additional benefit in preventing infant tuberculosis infections when compared to the standard vaccine currently in use.

An article by NDTV writes that the tuberculosis vaccine, known as MVA85A, was initially cited as the most progressive of those currently in clinical trials. With its benefits falling below expectation, scientists will now focus on how to use the findings to inform future studies.

Created in 1921, the vaccine currently used in the fight against tuberculosis is known as Bacille Calmette-Guerin, or BCG. Although commonly used for infant vaccination, the vaccine’s effects decrease within a few years time.

BCG also offers no protection against the most rampart and contagious form of the disease found in youth and adolescents. Primarily affecting the lungs, tuberculosis is considered an airborne disease that annually results in the death of over 1 million individuals worldwide.

The Huffington Post writes that researchers tested the MVA85A vaccine in approximately 2,800 infants who had previously received BCG. Half of the participants were given MVA85A while the remaining infants received a placebo.

The infants were monitored over a three year span before the resulting data was analyzed. Researchers found 32 cases of tuberculosis in the recipients of the new vaccine compared to 39 cases from the placebo group. This would make MVA85A’s success rate fall at approximately 17 percent.

Funded by Aeras, the Wellcome Trust and the Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium, the study was authored by Helen McShane and colleagues at the University of Oxford. Results of the MVA85A tuberculosis trial were published on February 4 in the journal Lancet.

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