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Safety Trials on New TB Vaccine Begin in South Africa

by VR Sreeraman on July 28, 2007 at 3:41 PM
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Safety Trials on New TB Vaccine Begin in South Africa

UK researchers have begun safety trials on a new TB vaccine in South Africa.

Oxford University and Welcome Trust researchers are leading the tests in the Western Cape area, where one in 100 infants suffers from TB.

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The trials will reveal whether the injection given alongside the current BCG vaccine can protect people better from the disease than BCG alone.

"This vaccine is safe, and stimulates very high levels of the type of immune response we think we need to protect against TB," the BBC quoted Dr Helen McShane, the Oxford University and Wellcome Trust researcher leading the project, as saying.
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"It is important for us to test whether or not this vaccine does work to stop people getting TB," she added.

The new vaccine has already passed safety trials in the Gambia, a country in Western Africa. The results of the trials suggest that the vaccine put a huge impact on how the body's immune system is primed to resist TB infection.

It works by stimulating immune system cells called T-cells to produce a stronger response to the BCG injection.

The researchers say if the vaccine proves to be safe, cheap and far more effective than BCG, with its effects lasting throughout life, then the reintroduction of universal immunisation in the UK "might be worthwhile".

Source: ANI
SRM/B
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