Experimental Vaccine Reduced TB Rate Among HIV-Positive People In Tanzania, Study Finds

An experimental vaccine was found to reduce the rate of tuberculosis infections in patients living with HIV, “the first time a shot has been shown to reduce cases of the most common AIDS-related cause of death in poor nations,” Bloomberg reports (Bennett, 1/29). Tuberculosis accounts for up to one-third of AIDS deaths worldwide, CBC News reports.

The study, which was published online Friday in the journal AIDS, found the “MV vaccine reduced the rate of tuberculosis by 39 percent” among study participants, CBC News writes (1/29). “The vaccine works by boosting the immune responses of patients who have already been given the BCG vaccine earlier in life,” which is the only TB vaccine currently available, BBC writes (1/30).

According to the study researchers, BCG “has been used to protect newborns since 1921 [and] has ‘minimal or no protective effect’ on adults,” Bloomberg writes. The seven-year study, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, involved “2,013 HIV patients in Tanzania who received BCG when young. They received five doses of the [MV] vaccine over a year, then were monitored every 3 months for a median of 3.3 years,” Bloomberg reports (1/29). 

“Since development of a new vaccine against tuberculosis is a major international health priority, especially for patients with HIV infection, we and our Tanzanian collaborators are very encouraged by the results of the DarDar [Dartmouth-Dar es Salaam, Tanzania] Study,” lead author Ford von Reyn, director of the DarDar International Programs for the Section on Infectious Disease and International Health at Dartmouth Medical School, said in a press release. The press release features a video about the study and includes information about future directions for testing the TB vaccine (1/29).

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