Lancet Series on Tuberculosis

Geneva, Switzerland (May 19, 2010) – An article summarizing the need and the current progress of new vaccines against tuberculosis appeared today in the scientific journal, The Lancet, as part of their latest series, which is on tuberculosis.

The article, entitled “New vaccines for tuberculosis” by S. Kaufmann, G. Hussey, and P. Lambert, highlights the need for new vaccines due to safety issues in HIV-positive infants and questionable adolescent and adult efficacy with BCG.  It also discusses the current eleven vaccine candidates in clinical trials, four of which are co-sponsored by Aeras.  However, the article points out that the current vaccine candidates are primarily indicated for pre-exposure disease prevention as opposed to post-exposure infection prevention, which will ultimately be needed to achieve sterile eradication.

Near-future and future candidates are also mentioned, which include candidates that target latent TB and therefore are meant to prevent activation.  Several challenges face TB vaccine researchers, including better clinical trial site development, better surrogate markers of protection, more easily identifiable and measurable clinical endpoints.  Kaufmann et al. mention the large funding gap and suggest that new partnerships and incentives need to be created to continue the advances in research and development for TB vaccines.

The Lancet Series was commissioned to highlight clinically important topics and areas in health and medicine that are commonly overlooked by mainstream research programs.  The latest in the Series is on Tuberculosis, which highlights the global prevalence and burden of TB and challenges faced to reduce worldwide cases rapidly.  The Series includes articles on tuberculosis drugs, biomarkers, vaccines, and diagnostics.