2,784 vaccinations later

April 29, 2011 By Jonathan Wood
Mothers and babies taking part in the trial in South Africa.

The two thousand, seven hundred and eighty-fourth baby has been vaccinated today in South Africa as part of a clinical trial of a new vaccine against tuberculosis. The new TB vaccine is the most advanced in development anywhere in the world.

That’s the last baby in the trial, and marks completion of trial enrolment almost two years to the day after the study was first announced.

"We are extremely proud of this achievement and are eager to see the study results, which are expected to be available in 2012," says Dr. Helen McShane, who developed the at the Jenner Institute, Oxford University. "This milestone brings us a step closer to potentially having a new , from which millions of people around the world would benefit."

It’s certainly quite a milestone, and marks a great deal of work to vaccinate all these babies under 1 year old in an area where there is one of the highest rates of TB in the world.

But why precisely 2,784 babies, not 2,500 or 3,000?

Helen explains that it is entirely down to the calculations used to plan the trial. These sums showed that 2784 babies should give enough statistical weight to be able to see a significant improvement in preventing TB over the 90-year-old (but still standard) BCG jab.

The new vaccine is designed to be given to infants after they have received the BCG vaccine, boosting the immune response further. All the babies in the trial have received the BCG vaccine, with half then getting the trial vaccine and half a placebo. "If successful, the next steps would be to plan a phase III trial and licensure of the vaccine," Helen says.

The current trial was a phase IIb trial, and is the first to be able to really determine whether the vaccine gives infants any protection against TB. A larger phase III trial would pin down exactly the size of any benefit and guide how the vaccine could be rolled out.

The trial in Worcester, about 100km from Cape Town, is being conducted by the University of Cape Town’s South African Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), in partnership with Aeras, the Wellcome Trust, and the Oxford-Emergent Tuberculosis Consortium Ltd (a joint venture between the University of Oxford and Emergent Biosolutions Inc formed to develop the vaccine)

"We are pleased to report that the trial has run smoothly to date," says Dr. Hassan Mahomed, who has led the trial at SATVI.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

August 21, 2017
That statin you've been taking to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke may one day pull double duty, providing protection against a whole host of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever, chlamydia, and malaria.

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race, study finds

August 17, 2017
African-Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices.

Finding better ways to reduce serious drug side effects

August 14, 2017
Many of the medicines we depend on to treat disease—and even to save our lives—pose potentially serious risks along with their benefits. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that about ...

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia

August 10, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting ...

Independent pharmacies and online coupons help patients save money on drugs

August 8, 2017
Uninsured patients or those with limited prescription drug coverage can save significant money by buying their drugs at independent pharmacies instead of big box, grocery or chain drug stores and by using discount coupons, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.