Published: Sat, January 04, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

New approach improves efficacy of Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine

New approach improves efficacy of Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine

"If the recombinant BCG is protective and safe in animals, we have a clinical development plan with the Serum Institute of India, Pune, to administer a recombinant form of intravenous BCG into humans in late 2021", Seder told this newspaper.

"The effects are incredible", said senior author JoAnne Flynn, PhD, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the Pitt Center for Vaccine Research.

"When we compared the lungs of animals given the vaccine intravenously versus the standard route, we saw a 100,000-fold reduction in bacterial burden. Nine out of 10 animals showed no inflammation in their lungs".

In a new issue published by the National Institutes of Health, scientists are reporting some rather astonishing results from vaccine trials in rhesus monkeys. In fact, TB is the leading infectious cause of death globally, claiming 1.5 million lives each year.

Worldwide, more people die from tuberculosis (TB) than any other infectious disease, even though the vast majority receive a vaccination.

Dr. JoAnne Flynn, Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, The Pitt Center for Vaccine ResearchWhat is the BCG vaccine?

According to The New York Times, the reason why the intravenous route was tested is because Dr. Seder had used the same strategy in the case of the experimental malaria vaccine, which showed better priming of the immune system. However, the standard, ID, route of BCG administration may not generate enough of these critical cells in the lungs.

More safety studies are needed before the approach is tested in people. It also carries a higher risk of infection, the release says. Of the tested monkeys, they were divided into unvaccinated, standard human injection, stronger dose but same injection route, mist, injection plus mist or a stronger dose of BCG delivered as a single shot directly into the vein. The scientists assessed immune responses in blood and in fluid drawn from the lungs for 24-week following vaccination. The groups that received other forms of vaccination showed moderate level protection against TB.

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Six months after the monkeys were given the vaccine, the researchers exposed the monkeys to tuberculosis and then looked for signs of a lung infection. Macaques are extremely susceptible to TB.

Monkeys that received the standard human dose all had persistent lung inflammation and the other injected and inhaled vaccines offered similarly modest TB protection.

Giving a high dose of a vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) intravenously, as an alternative of under the skin, drastically improves the drug's ability to guard against the lethal disease, a new examine suggests.

"The effects are fantastic", said senior author Dr JoAnne Flynn, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the Pitt Center for Vaccine Research. It provided almost complete protection and close to nil TB bacteria were found in their lungs.

9 out of 10 animals vaccinated with IV BCG had been extremely protected; six confirmed no detectable an infection in any tissue examined and three had exclusively very low counts of Mtb micro organism in lung tissue.

However, for individuals with the IV vaccine, there was virtually no TB bacteria in their lungs and only one monkey in this group developed lung inflammation. In the other groups, the activity of T-cells was almost negligible and BCG was unnoticeable in the lung tissue.

The vaccine prevented tuberculosis in 90 percent of the monkeys.

"We are still far from the translation potential of this work", Flynn said.

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