The Johannesburg-Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, Bacillus Calmette Gellan (BCG), is the only TB vaccine that has been given to newborns for over 100 years to prevent the possibility of bacterial infection.
The vaccine, developed by French bacteriologists Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin, was developed between 1908 and 1921 and primarily targeted tuberculous meningitis.
A century later, the University of Cefako McGat is working with the Serum Institute of India (SIIPL), Max Planck Institute, and Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH on a second vaccine known as VPM1002. ..
The vaccine aims to reduce the number of tubercle bacilli that have killed millions of people so far.
In the 2020 World Tuberculosis Report, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded about 360,000 South Africans infected with tuberculosis. This is a 20% increase from the previous year, which was 301,000 in 2018.
In a 2019 report, WHO reported 64,000 deaths from the disease. VPM1002, which is still in the trial stage, is said to be an improved version of the old vaccine and targets various types of M. tuberculosis, but BCG mainly targets tuberculous meningitis.
VPM1002 has not yet been approved by the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (SAPHRA) as it is still in clinical trials at the MeCRU Clinical Research Unit in Galanwa, northwest of Pretoria.
Previous studies have shown that VPM1002 is equally effective and probably superior to BCG, according to Dr. Matsontso Mathebula, Deputy Director of Campus Health and Counseling at the University, who is also the lead researcher in the research. I will.
“That’s why we’re doing this study. This study tells us if VPM1002 provides protection from newborn infections. It’s more protective than the BCG vaccine. Hopefully, we have to wait until the test results are available, “says Mathebula.
“These studies are small and need to be proven to be correct by doing larger studies, including more, and we are doing a VPM1002 study to prove this,” he says. I did.
“Tuberculosis vaccination has been around for many years, and South Africa has an Extended Immunization Program (EPI) to vaccinate infants from birth to 10 years of age. In addition, the acceptance of the EPI program is very high. It is high.
The clinical trial will be conducted after the first research study has been approved by the University’s Research Ethics Committee on June 30, 2020.
Mathebula found that the study found 6940 pregnant women and new mothers in five sub-Saharan African countries who could voluntarily agree to allow newborns over the age of 18 to be vaccinated with VPM1002 instead of BCG. He adds that it is targeted.
In South Africa alone, the study aims to vaccinate about 2,000 babies, alongside Kenya, Tanzania, Gabon and Uganda.
Like BCG, this vaccine is intended for newborns who are more susceptible to disease due to their more developed immune system than adults.
“Infants are not born with tuberculosis. They become infected after being exposed to infected adults. Therefore, it is important to teach the body to protect themselves from severe tuberculosis infections. This study shows adults The aim is to immunize the baby just because he may already be exposed to tuberculosis, “says Matebra.
“After vaccination, the body can control the possibility of infection, but the individual’s immune system is good. After that, the infection is dormant, controlled, and never bothers the person again. No. However, if a person’s immune system is compromised, the dormant infection can recur and the person can suffer from an overt tuberculosis infection. In addition, reinfection with both vaccines Is possible, “he further explained.
Infants are vaccinated with either BCG or VMP1002 at birth, but can become infected with tuberculosis in adulthood. This is mainly because the vaccine is depleted as it gets older and the immune system is not strong enough to fight the disease on its own.