Tuberculosis remains a major global health
problem with an estimated 8 to 10 million new cases each
year with an associated mortality of approximately 3 million.
The currently available vaccine, BCG, is of variable efficacy
and is least effective in highly endemic areas. There is
an increasing incidence of multi-drug resistant strains
of TB making treatment more difficult and thus there is
an urgent need for an improved vaccine.
As with malaria, strong T cell responses are believed to
be important in protective immunity to TB. Dr Helen McShane
has been studying the cellular responses to BCG and new
vaccine strategies for a number of years and is now starting
clinical trials of new vaccine candidates.
Dr HELEN MCSHANE
MVA-85A is the first vaccine candidate to be tested.
This is an MVA virus that has been genetically modified so that
it encodes an important antigen from TB called Antigen 85A. Previous
work has demonstrated that MVA-based vaccines are very good at
boosting an already primed immune response. Initial studies are
investigating whether MVA-85A is capable of boosting the immune
response generated by BCG vaccination.
If you would be interested in volunteering for a
TB vaccine trial, please contact Dr Helen McShane: firstname.lastname@example.org.