Tuberculosis (TB) vaccines have been shown to reduce sustained infection rates among healthy, uninfected adolescents and in high-transmission settings, according to the results of a clinical trial published by nonprofit TB vaccine developer Aeras earlier this month.
Aeras published the results of phase two of randomized, controlled clinical trials for two TB vaccines, the BCG vaccine that is currently available and a new investigational vaccine known as H4:IC31. The study found that revaccination with BCG “significantly” reduced sustained infections with a 45.4 percent vaccine efficacy in adolescents in the Western Cape of South Africa, where the study was administered.
Additionally, HF:IC31 was also found to reduce sustained infections with a 30.5 percent vaccine efficacy. That marked the first time a subunit vaccine demonstrated any ability to prevent TB infections in humans.
“With this study, we showed that vaccines against TB infection can work,” Aeras CEO Jacqueline Shea said. “The results highlight the importance of investing in new approaches to fighting the leading infectious disease killer and to evaluating new concepts in clinical trials. Further, the collaborative effort established between industry leaders, nonprofits, and clinical sites during this trial showed how powerful combining such forces can be for developing new interventions against a global health threat.”
The BCG results also reveal important and potentially life-saving findings, Shea continued.
“Likewise, the novel prevention-of-infection trial design can be used to inform clinical development of new vaccine candidates before entry into large-scale prevention-of-disease efficacy trials,” she said. “We are very grateful to the trial participants and our partners and funders who enabled the conduct of this trial.”