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Aeras launches new clinical trials for TB vaccine

Last week Aeras and the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) announced the start of the Phase I trial of vaccine candidate ID93.

This trial is significant for a number of reasons. It is the first clinical trial of this candidate TB vaccine by Aeras in collaboration with IDRI – two non-profit research organisations. It is also the first time this vaccine candidate is being tested in people (‘first-in-human’) – the trial is now underway in Lenexa, Kansas. The candidate is designed to act against active AND latent TB.

This is exciting news given that the currently available TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) was developed 90 years ago. While the BCG works to reduce the risk of severe forms of TB in early childhood, it has been ineffective in controlling the global TB epidemic despite it’s widespread use. In addition due to their weakened immune systems children with HIV/AIDS are not able to receive the BCG vaccination, which could potentially kill them, rather than save their lives.

However, there is still a long way to go, and if shown to be successful in Phase I, will need many more years of testing within Phase II and finally Phase III clinical trials, with much more investment required, in order to bring a new TB vaccine to market. The impact of such a new vaccine will have the potential to protect the health and save the lives of millions of people around the world, including the 8.8 million people who develop active TB and the 1.4 million people who die each year. It will have an essential role in the eradication of this age old disease.

The official press release can be seen here.