Research headed by UCLA has found that a variation of the BCG vaccine offers stronger protection against the diseases
Both tuberculosis and leprosy often occur together, and leprosy usually only occurs in places where tuberculosis occurs.
Most infants are vaccinated against the two diseases with the Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccination, which has been used for over a century now. However this vaccination does not offer full protection for these diseases, and a stronger vaccine is needed.
A UCLA led study published in the scientific journal Infection and Immunity has shown that a variation of the traditional BCG vaccine offers better protection against tuberculosis in animals. The modified vaccine overexpresses a protein present in the tuberculosis bacterium’s structure and the leprosy bacillus, called antigen 85B. The modified vaccine also concurrently protects against leprosy.
The UCLA led experiment immunised mice with either the BCG vaccine or the new recombinant rBCG30 vaccine. After ten weeks, they were injected with leprosy causing bacteria.The results showed that mice who received the recombinant vaccine had significantly fewer leprosy bacteria present in their bodies than those who received the BCG vaccine.
Phase I human trials for the rBCG30 vaccine have already taken place, and they have confirmed safety in humans.
Phase 2 trials will now have to take place to move the vaccine development forward. It will have to be tested for efficacy against TB as well as leprosy.
Read more about it here: New vaccine shows promise as stronger weapon against both tuberculosis and leprosy