A new vaccine against tuberculosis is effective in preventing the disease in people infected with HIV, says a new study reported in the journal AIDS.
The DarDar Health Study, named for Dartmouth and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, found that MV immunisation reduced the rate of definite tuberculosis by 39% among 2,000 HIV-infected patients in Tanzania.
"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 Study," said Ford von Reyn, director of the DarDar International programmes.
The 7-year trail was conducted in Tanzania with collaborators at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, and was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States.
North and South work together
"The study confirms that University institutions from the northern and southern hemispheres can establish partnerships to perform quality clinical research work with global importance. The results of the study are not only good news for people living in regions with high infection rates of HIV and tuberculosis but has also contributed to capacity building in performing TB vaccine trials among HIV infected persons in Tanzania," says Kisali Pallangyo, senior collaborator at MUHAS.
TB is the most common cause of death from HIV in developing countries. Since newly-infected HIV patients risk contracting TB almost immediately, Dartmouth investigators are targeting a strategy for immunization with MV before patients need to start taking antiretroviral drugs.
Von Reyn described the DarDar trial as "a significant milestone" – the first to demonstrate that any type of vaccine can prevent an infectious complication of HIV in adults. He added that the next steps are to improve the manufacturing methods to support the production of the larger quantities of the TB vaccine needed for further studies and subsequent clinical use.
Development work on manufacturing will be conducted by the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation in Rockville, Maryland, in conjunction with the London-based manufacturer, Immodulon Therapeutics.
"Aeras' goal is to speed the development and distribution of new TB vaccines for those who need them most," said Jerald C. Sadoff, MD President and Chief Executive Officer of Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. "We are pleased that our internal manufacturing capacity can assist in the further development of this TB vaccine."
The vaccine is a type known as an inactivated, whole-cell mycobacterial vaccine and is expected to be economical to produce and distribute, Von Reyn said. – (EurekAlert!, January 2010)