New Trials Gives Hope for Tuberculosis Vaccine
A new vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) will soon undergo the first phase of human safety testing. The first of its kind to be tested in the United States in the last 60 years, the new vaccine combines 2 TB proteins that stimulate a strong response by the human immune system. Researchers were able to identify these proteins from blood samples of people who never got TB despite being infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. These proteins were fused using recombinant DNA technology and then combined with substances that would further boost an immune system's response to the vaccine. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, remarked, "This candidate vaccine ... offers hope for reducing the burden of a disease that claims approximately 2 million lives each year."