12th April 2016
A team of scientists from the University of Oxford has made a discovery that is likely to significantly improve the chances of developing a vaccine against Tuberculosis (TB).
The team has found new biomarkers for TB that are set to show why immunity from the current Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is inconclusive.
On discovering these biomarkers, it's also a strong possibility that they will indicate how new and improved vaccines could be created.
Although the BCG is one of the most widely used vaccines and has a high success rate, it is still very difficult to determine whether it will work or not.
Normally, scientists and medics will use immune correlates or biomarkers found in the blood to work out whether a vaccine has been successful at immunising against a disease.
There is a pressing need to find a TB vaccine that is more effective than BCG, which is why the groups at Oxford University have been working with the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Leading the research, Professor Helen McShane from the University of Oxford said: "These are useful results, which ideally would now be confirmed in further trials.
"They show that antigen-specific T cells are important in protection against TB, but that activated T cells increase the risk."
Posted by Edward Bartel
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