The most deadly infectious disease on the planet is tuberculosis. Now, some San Antonio scientists are researching a new kind of TB vaccine.
Tuberculosis kills one-and-a-half to two million people every year. Now, Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D., an immunologist and vaccine researcher at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio and a partner scientist in Houston are working on something new, a better way to prevent the infectious bacteria from spreading. Dr. Gauduin explains who’s most at risk from TB.
"Who's most at risk? "The very young or the elderly, AIDS patients, cancer patients, they are more susceptible," Gauduin said.
The National Institutes of Health awarded Gauduin and her team $4.4 million over the next five years to develop better protection.
The only TB vaccine available isn’t even used in the United States. It’s not a hundred percent effective and doesn’t provide life-long immunity against the lung infection.
This new vaccine model uses a modifier that would increase the body’s immune response ten-fold and make the vaccine last three times as long.
"The vaccines seem to be more potent," Gauduin explained. "The modifier will actually help that immune response be much stronger for a longer period of time."
The next step is to use a non-human primate model. Those studies will take place at the Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed.