A new study published in the journal Neurology reveals that a vaccine used for treating tuberculosis is also effective in preventing multiple sclerosis (MS) in patients who the beginning signs of the disease.
The study was conducted by researchers at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy who looked into the effect of a vaccine called Bacille Calmette-Guérin, used for treating TB in some countries. The researchers recruited a group of 73 people who had displayed a first episode which suggested MS, with 33 of them receiving Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine while the remaining were given a placebo.
The researchers also conducted brain scans of the participants for once a month over the next six months and were given the MS drug interferon beta-1a for a year after which they were free to take the MS drug recommended by their neurologist. After a period of five years, the researchers found that around 58 percent of those who had been given the vaccine had not developed MS compared to 30 percent of those who received the placebo.
"These results are promising, but much more research needs to be done to learn more about the safety and long-term effects of this live vaccine. Doctors should not start using this vaccine to treat MS or clinically isolated syndrome", lead researcher Giovanni Ristori said.