A vaccine to protect HIV patients from contracting tuberculosis (TB) and its complications has finally been found.
After seven years during the trial in Africa, scientists have for the first time developed a vaccine that successfully reduce the TB infection rate is for almost 39% among 2,000 patients infected with HIV in Tanzania.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the biggest killer of HIV patients in the world. According to WHO, 8-10 million people catch the disease each year, 2 million are died from it. Worldwide, women bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, disease and malnutrition. TB causes more deaths among women than all causes of maternal mortality combined, and more than 900 million women worldwide are infected with TB.
Scientists from Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) have reported the results of their clinical trials of this new vaccine to prevent TB, named Mycobacterium vaccae (MV) in the online issue of the journal AIDS.
Lead researcher Ford von Reyn of DMS said, “Since the development of new vaccines prevent TB is a major international health priority, especially for HIV infected patients, we and collaborators of Tanzania are very encouraged by the results of research.”
The vaccine is known as inactivated, all cell mycobacterial vaccine and is expected to be economical to produce and distribute.
Von Reyn describing the trial as “an important milestone – the first to show that all types of vaccines to prevent TB of HIV infection in adults”.
He added that the next step is to support the production of larger quantities of TB vaccines demanded for further studies and subsequent medical use.
Since newly-infected HIV patients risk contracting TB almost immediately, researchers are targeting strategy for immunization with MV before the patient needs to start taking antiretroviral drugs.
The scientific team at Dartmouth began the Phase-I human studies with MV in the United States in 1994 and showed that a series of multi-dose MV secure in both healthy subjects and HIV patients.
The group then conduct Phase-II studies in larger groups of adults in Zambia and in Finland. In the trial at Zambia, researchers found that the MV increase the immune response against TB of the first prime in childhood with the current TB vaccine, BCG.
Furthermore, groups of acacia, the myrtle receive NIH funds to conduct the trial Phase-III efficacy among HIV patients with previous BCG immunization in Tanzania.
HIV patients are particularly vulnerable to TB because their immune system are disturbed. Vaccines work by increasing the immune systems of patients who had been given BCG vaccine earlier in life.