In a study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development is investigating whether the standard vaccine used in foreign countries against tuberculosis offers better protection as a shot, drink or combination of both.
“The fight against tuberculosis is important because a third of the world is thought to be infected and there are significant problems with drug-resistant TB organisms,” said Daniel Hoft, MD, PhD, principal investigator and director of the division of immunobiology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
The “standard” tuberculosis vaccine, bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is given to infants in foreign countries, and is not currently recommended for use in the U.S.
“Experts believe it provides some protection against TB disease, particularly in children where severe manifestations of TB are averted,” Hoft said. “However, despite widespread use of BCG, TB remains a major cause of death worldwide. The main purpose of this study is to find out if BCG can be used in a more effective way.
“We hope to learn whether a BCG vaccine drink or a combination of a drink and an injection could increase immune responses against tuberculosis lung infection and affect the progression of the disease as it spreads throughout the body.”
The study also will look at whether it is better to give one or two doses of the BCG vaccine.
A total of 70 healthy volunteers who are 18 to 40 years old are needed for the research. The study will last about two years and requires up to 21 scheduled visits. Each visit takes between 30 minutes and three hours, depending upon the procedures being performed. Study participants will be compensated for their time and travel after each completed visit.
Tuberculosis is a deadly disease that strikes developing nations hardest. Each year, nearly 8 million new cases of TB develop, and 2 million persons die from the infectious disease.