Researchers from the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney have successfully developed and tested on mice, a new type of vaccine targeting tuberculosis (TB)
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New Vaccine For Tuberculosis. It is the world’s top infectious disease killer in humans.

Researchers from the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney have successfully developed and tested on mice, a new type of vaccine targeting tuberculosis (TB). The Pre-clinical trials on mice show promising results, and the researchers will next test the new vaccine in clinical trials with humans. Currently, there is only one existing vaccine for TB as of 2011- Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), and it shows to be ineffective in adults.

The early-stage vaccine was shown to protect against TB in a pre-clinical laboratory setting when tested on the rodents.

Dr. Anneliese Ashhurst, the co-lead author of the study, said that Tuberculosis is a global problem and it resulted in 1.6 million deaths per year globally. TB is caused by the inhalation of the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She is affiliated with both the Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney.

The research program targeting the deadly disease has currently taken over five years of effort to implement. During that time, Dr. Ashhurst and a team of scientists have created the advanced synthetic TB vaccine and have now demonstrated its effectiveness using mouse models.

Dr. Ashhurst said that

two peptides which are usually found in tuberculosis bacteria were synthesized in vitro and then bound extremely tightly to an adjuvant. This, when introduced into the mouse, was able to kickstart the immune response. She highlighted that the research team was then able to show that when this vaccine was inhaled into the lungs, it stimulated the type of T cells known to protect against TB. Dr. Ashhurst said that the team of researchers were able to demonstrate that this type of vaccine could successfully protect against experimental airborne TB infection. 

Professor Warwick Britton, Head of the Centenary Institute Tuberculosis Research Program and co-senior researcher on the project said that there currently exists only one vaccine for TB and this is only effective in reducing the risk of disease for infants. It fails to prevent infection or provide long-term protection in older individuals. BCG isn’t considered suitable for use in individuals with an impaired immune system.

Professor Britton said that he is excited that the team’s strategy to discover a new vaccine for tuberculosis has proven to be the right research approach. This was achieved by directly generating immunity to the lungs. He added that the team of scientists was trying to make this easily inhaled nasal spray which would provide life-long TB protection.

The next step for the scientists is to determine if the synthetic vaccine can be developed into a form suitable for human use. According to the reports, an estimated two billion individuals are carrying TB globally, and up to 10 percent of these individuals develop the disease in their lifetime. More than 50% of TB cases occur in the Asia Pacific region.

Rahul Mishra is a Science enthusiast and eager to learn something new each day. He has a degree in Microbiology and has joined forces with Biotecnika in 2019 due to his passion for writing and science.