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Potential Public-Private Partnership Aims To Bring TB Vaccine Trials To Mines Of Southern Africa

GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on a potential public-private partnership that aims to bring tuberculosis (TB) vaccine trials to the gold mines of Southern Africa, where, “[f]or every 100,000 workers …, 3,000 have tuberculosis, and many have often-fatal, drug-resistant strains of TB.” The blog writes that mining company “Anglo American announced Tuesday at the GBCHealth Conference [in New York] that it has agreed in principle to make its mines available for TB vaccine trials organized by Aeras, a non-profit that has 12 TB vaccine candidates now in various stages of research,” noting, “No formal agreement has been reached, but Anglo American’s spokesman vowed to make it happen.”

“‘The current vaccine we have for TB is useless. It’s the biggest waste of money — it just doesn’t work,’ Brian A. Brink, Anglo American’s chief medical officer told the conference. ‘Up to now there has been no investment in TB vaccines, but Aeras has done it,'” he added, according to the blog. “The push for new tools has taken on new urgency in the past few years,” the blog writes, adding, “For instance, for the first time, drug candidates are being tested together in arrangements put together by the TB Alliance, another non-profit, in hopes of finding combinations of drugs that are effective against drug-resistant TB. No new TB drugs have been developed for more than 40 years” (Donnelly, 5/16).