Promising Results From Enhanced BCG Vaccine

August 22, 2005

According to an article in New Scientist, the Max Planck Institute has developed a new vaccine for TB which is ten times more effective than conventional BCG:

The BCG - or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin - vaccine has given reasonable protection against TB since it was created in the 1920s. The vaccine consists of live, weakened Mycobacterium bovis microbes and invokes an immune response without causing illness when given to newborn babies and young children.But its effectiveness is limited in adults and against newly emerging drug-resistant strains. BCG’s usefulness also varies with region – in areas with a lot of natural exposure to Mycobacterium strains in soil, it is less effective.Now, Stefan Kaufmann, director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany, and colleagues have devised a way of boosting BCG’s power. Their souped-up vaccine was 10 times more effective than conventional BCG in protecting mice from infection. And it slashed the presence of “drug-resistant” TB bacteria to about 1% of its initial level in mice infected with this strain - the standard BCG had no effect.


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