Study: Timing of new TB vaccine matters

A experimental vaccine for tuberculosis, called MVA85A, is more effective when give alone than in combination with other childhood shots. The next-generation vaccine is being developed by Emergent BioSolutions and Oxford University.

Each year 1.7 million people die of TB. Although there is a vaccine available, its ability to protect people as they get older fades with time. MVA85A is among a new set of vaccines in development that could prove to be more effective and safer than the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine. In a clinical trial, researchers found that MVA85A was more effective when administered alone than in combination with other vaccines. This is a significant finding because many vaccines administered in developing nations are giving in a single visit, eliminating the need for multiple trips to health clinics. This approach increases overall vaccine coverage, but in the case of MVA85A may interfere with the vaccine's effectiveness. Researchers say then need to further study how the shot will fit in with the childhood immunization schedule.

"We have a real opportunity to make sure that children are protected...against tuberculosis by introducing effective and well-timed immunization programs," noted study leader Martin Ota of the Medical Research Council Laboratories in Gambia, according to Reuters. "This can only be achieved with robust information gathered from well-conducted clinical trials."

- here's the report

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