Hyderabad: With preventive measures aimed at containing tuberculosis (TB) showing a less-than-encouraging response, scientists across the globe are of the firm opinion that the most effective way forward to combat the disease is in the use of vaccine.
Findings reveal that only a miniscule two per cent of cases have benefitted in the last 100 years from the preventive measures. World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that 9.6 million people are suffering from TB, of which 2.2 million cases are reported in India, where incidence of multi-drug resistant TB is high.
Meanwhile, clinical trials of GSK’s M 72/ASO1E1 have shown 50 per cent efficacy. It is the first vaccine in the world that can, ostensibly, provide protection, safety, immunogenicity and efficacy.
These research findings were exhaustively elaborated upon during the ‘International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease’ conference that was held in the city.
The three-year analysis of 3,575 participants in the 18-50 year age group from South Africa, Kenya and Zambia has shown positive results. However, it has been felt that there was a need for further trials before it can be introduced in the market.
Two doses of M 72 were given to patients 30 days apart for three years. In the final analysis, it was found that 13 participants developed active TB while others did not. There were no trials carried out in India, even though it has the highest incidence of TB after South Africa.
Ann Ginsberg, one of the partners in the project, explained, “The research is exciting as we have been able to get insights on how the antibodies work. It is known that a good immune system resists mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is very important to understand on why some get the disease and others do not.” The mutation in mycobacterium is very slow, observed the researchers in their initial analysis. It is found that TB bacteria has different strains and in different populations across the world. Scien-tists state that it is too early to arrive at conclusions as they still have a lot to find out from the studies being carried out.