News / Health

New TB Vaccine Passes Safety Tests

But proves less effective when given with other immunizations

A tuberculosis patient receives free treatment at the Indonesian Union Against Tuberculosis clinic in Jakarta, April 4, 2011.
A tuberculosis patient receives free treatment at the Indonesian Union Against Tuberculosis clinic in Jakarta, April 4, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Tuberculosis continues to be a major threat around the world, especially in developing countries. A new vaccine has gone into testing, and the results may change how childhood vaccinations are given.

TB kills 1.8 million people a year. The current vaccine for tuberculosis, called BCG, is normally given to newborns in countries where TB is a major threat.

The vaccine is very effective in children, but experts seeing a rise in adult TB cases think the vaccine's protection may eventually wear off. So the hunt has been on for a stronger, longer-lasting vaccine.

In response, researchers at Oxford University in England came up with a vaccine supplement called MVA85A. Preliminary tests indicate that, when given to children who also received the old vaccine, it is safe and produces a robust immune response, which is what a vaccine is supposed to do.

That conclusion came from a study of several hundred infants in Gambia, which also helped researchers learn the best way to administer the new vaccine.

One group of infants got the new vaccine along with their other childhood immunizations. Another group got the TB vaccine separately. Dr. Martin Ota of the Bacterial Diseases Program in Banjul, Gambia, says the two groups responded differently to the TB vaccine.

The children who got all the vaccines together had a lower immune response to the TB vaccine than those who got the TB vaccine separately, "Which implies that giving these two groups of vaccines together has a negative impact on the new TB vaccine."

Ota is the lead author of a paper describing the study.

He explains that although the measured tuberculosis immune response was lower when the TB vaccine was given with the other vaccines, it still may be enough to protect against the disease.

"We don't really know what the level that provides protection is. It might be that it is good enough, but we haven't reached that stage," Ota says in a video posted on the website of the journal Science Translational Medicine, which published his paper.

In the paper, the authors say that the lower immune response when the vaccines are given together is more likely a result of interference between adjuvants, which are additives used to boost the effectiveness of a vaccine.

There are benefits in giving all the vaccines together, including fewer clinic visits and higher vaccination rates, but for now,  Ota says, the results of his study suggest that the new TB vaccine should be given separately.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid