TB vaccine study dissapoints

tuberculosis patient, El Salvador
tuberculosis patient, El Salvador

As a Reuters article from last week indicated, there were high hopes the results from a study of an experimental TB vaccine would show promise.

“In my own personal view, I will consider this (trial) to be a landmark or a watershed,” said Peggy Johnston, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. “If it is negative, it would be the first trial we can demonstrate that yes, we can conduct a clinical trial and get a solid answer. If it turns out to be at all positive, it will be a clear watershed for the field.”

Unfortunately, the study did not yield a positive result, at least in the latter sense.  TB, though seldom in the news like HIV or malaria (or the threat of pandemic flu), remains one of the world’s biggest killers and the bacteria is becoming increasingly drug -resistant. As a number of news articles reported on this latest attempt to find a better vaccine:

BBC and the Guardian both reported ‘Hopes for new TB vaccine dashed

NPR sounded a more hopeful note, saying that though this vaccine failed to protect infants there are lots of other candidate vaccines under study.


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.