How close are scientists to a vaccine for tuberculosis?

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Markus Maeurer, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Cell and Tumor Biology, Karolinska Institutet about vaccine for tuberculosis (TB).

Bild på Markus Maeurer"The vaccine candidates that gave positive results in animal tests and early trials on humans will now be tested in larger-scale studies to see if they provide better protection against TB than the existing vaccine.

At the same time, we have to continue producing new candidates so that we can eventually choose the safest and best vaccine. So were starting a new study at Karolinska Institutet to test another vaccine variant."

Facts about Tuberculosis (TB)

Affects: About one third of the worlds population is infected. Each year, some 9 million people become infected with the disease, and two million die.

Caused by: Air-borne bacteria.

Problem: Many cases of TB have been found where the bacteria are resistant to all medicine currently in use. Existing vaccines offer only short-term help and then only against certain strains of the disease.

Latest advances: Several vaccination candidates have given increased protection against TB in animal tests. They have also been tested in early trials on people, and proved to be safe and effective in enhancing the immune defence.

Text: Cecilia Odlind. Published in "Medicinsk Vetenskap" nr 1 2010.