Giving a high dose of a vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) intravenously, as an alternative of under the skin, drastically improves the drug’s ability to guard against the lethal disease, a new examine suggests.
Changing the typical dose and method of administration of the bacilli Calmette-Guérin, or BCG, the vaccine prevented TB in 90 percent of rhesus monkeys, researchers write online January 1 in Nature.
Most “astonishing” is that six of the ten monkeys who received the IV vaccine by no means even developed a preliminary infection when exposed to TB, says Joel Ernst, an immunologist who focuses on TB at the University of California, San Francisco. Preventing infection, not simply illness — called sterilizing immunity — is sporadic with any TB vaccine, says Ernst, who didn’t take part in the research.
The BCG vaccine has been in the market for nearly a century and is the only currently licensed TB vaccine. Over 150 nations, excluding the U.S., regularly use BCG to guard infants against some forms of TB. However, the vaccine fails to prevent the most common type of TB infection, in the lungs, in adolescents or adults.
Worldwide, TB contaminated 10 million individuals in 2018. It kills nearly 1.5 million a year, making it the most deadly infectious disease.
Around 13 million Americans have latent TB infection, which induces an immune response; however, it hasn’t progressed to active tuberculosis.
An experimental TB vaccine that might help protect individuals with latent infection from growing active TB is in the works.