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The Worldin Medicine
September 21, 2005

TB Vaccine Boost

JAMA. 2005;294(11):1331. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1331-c

A retooled version of the vaccine currently used against tuberculosis shows superior protection against the pathogen in animal studies, according to a report by researchers from Germany, England, France, and the Netherlands.

The researchers engineered a vaccine strain of Mycobacterium bovis that secretes listeriolysin, a protein that pierces the membranes of phagosomes that harbor tuberculosis bacteria. This allows better T cell–mediated immunity than is stimulated by the currently available vaccine, BCG, which offers only little protection to adults and has limited efficacy against newly emerging isolates of the tuberculosis bacterium. The researchers also deleted the urease C gene of the bacille Calmette-Guérin strain, to create the ideal pH environment for listeriolysin. In mouse studies, the new vaccine strain offered significantly better protection against tuberculosis, not only against the laboratory strain of the bacterium but also against a drug-resistant strain that is increasingly spreading across the globe.

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