Researchers confident of new TB vaccine

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Researchers say they are close to coming up with a new vaccine to prevent tuberculosis.

The scientists made the announcement at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in India.

Trials were conducted in South Africa, Zambia and Kenya.

The drugs were administered to more than 3000 people with latent TB.

The study shows that TB cases were half in those vaccinated with the M-27 drug.

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative Director Professor Mark Hatherill says they will soon conduct the second phase of the trials targeting HIV positive people.

“The next trial will be to show that this also works in HIV affected people, who suffer the most from the burden of TB in South Africa and worldwide. The next trials have to show efficacy against those with TB, young people, adolescents and those who haven’t been infected yet…so a lot of work still needs to be done,” says Hatherill.

After 20 years of research, the process of approving the vaccine is only in phase two, and Hatherill warns that development of these vaccinations will take time because TB develops slowly.

The World Health Organisation and relevant pharmaceutical companies are already in talks to establish partnerships to further develop the drug.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases in America has pledged R400-million for further research and testing.

Hatherill adds that the role South Africa played in the development of this so-called miracle drug is immense.

Listen to the full report by Marlinée Fouché below: