New TB vaccine trial in SA

12 November 2013 - 02:48 By Katharine Child

A trial of a new vaccine hoped to prevent tuberculosis has begun in South Africa.

An estimated 500000 people contract TB in the country every year, one of the highest rates in the world.

The UCT South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative in Worcester will be testing the vaccine on about 100 volunteers to see if it causes their bodies to develop an immune response to TB.

The Vaccine Initiative, part of the University of Cape Town, is the largest TB vaccine research group in Africa.

The vaccine was developed by Aeras, a US NGO, and the Danish Statens Serum Institute.

One of the researchers, Dr Michele Tameris, was the lead investigator of a past two-year trial for a TB vaccine for babies that was not effective.

She said: "One of the messages of this new trial is that work carries on for a TB vaccine. We don't give up. We are moving forward and hope for an answer."

If this trial is successful, the potential vaccine will be tried in a larger number of people.

Tameris said there were currently 13 TB vaccine trials going on around the world.