Tuberculosis Vaccine Finds an Improved Route - Dream Health

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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Tuberculosis Vaccine Finds an Improved Route

Tuberculosis Vaccine
A change in route has now made a widely used vaccine give almost 100% protection against Tuberculosis. Scientists have found that when injected intravenously, the Tuberculosis vaccine proves to give almost 100% protection than when given through the epidermis. Tuberculosis has gained the title of deadliest human disease and has taken over 1.5 million lives in 2018 alone.

The Widely accepted Practice Relating to the Tuberculosis vaccine: 

It is widely accepted that the most effective way to date to control tuberculosis bacteria- Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is by using a vaccine. However it has also been noted that the pathogen is able to resist most of the immune system’s responses to it. Even though the immune system is geared up to the bacteria, it still becomes almost useless when handling the actual thing when a person gets infected. This has then led scientists to question whether any vaccine can be made which will be able to confer sterilizing immunity against Tuberculosis. This means that any vaccine that can not only prevent the disease but also eradicate it even before it starts spreading would be given gold status.

A New Tuberculosis vaccine or Just a new way of Administration? 

In a recent paper ‘The Nature’, scientist Darrah et al simply mentions a 100 year old vaccine that provides nearly full protection against TB. The only change that he makes to this vaccine is its administration point.

Currently the only licensed Tuberculosis vaccine is a live strain of a related pathogen- Mycobacterium bovis. This vaccine was found in the years 1908- 1921. Till date the vaccines which has come to be known as Calmette- Guerin (BCG), has been administered to over a billion people.

The History Of BCG: 

BCG has been found to be almost effective when it comes to preventing mostly early childhood forms of TB. But it’s efficacy in preventing transmissible pulmonary forms, seen most commonly in adults has been somewhat questionable. In certain countries it has managed to reduce cases of TB but in others where TB is an endemic it has been somewhat lackluster.

Despite the dismal reports, it is the only Tuberculosis vaccine that has provided large scale results in clinical trials. However the methods that are used to determine its efficacy are definitely debatable.

The Current Tuberculosis vaccine injection Point: 

BCG is typically injected into the dermal tissue that is just below the outer layer of the skin. The point is considered to be advantageous as it contains specialized cells that stimulate the immune system’s responses.

A new set of thinking suggests that vaccines will be more effective in tackling a disease if they are administered at the point of infection. So for a pulmonary strain of TB, it is best that the vaccine is administered straight to the lungs or upper air ways. This new sought of thinking thus brought about investigations into newer administration points.

Scientists administered the Tuberculosis vaccine to macaques in different ways and after six months, they exposed them to the TB strain. Those monkeys that had got the vaccine through the closest point being their lungs showed no signs of TB.

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